The New Jersey Devils have their work cutout for them as they welcome the Eastern Conference leading Canadiens at the Rock.
New Jersey Devils (11-9-1, 23 points, 10th in Eastern Conference)
Montreal Canadiens (17-4-2, 36 points, 1st in Eastern Conference)
Today, 7:00 PM on RDS, RSNE, MSG+
Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
By Patrick Comia
New Jersey returns to home ice tonight, in a big litmus test of their standing in the Eastern Conference.
The Devils will look to avoid the same fate as their counterparts across the Hudson River did on Thursday, as they welcome neighbors north of the border, the Montreal Canadiens.
Coming off a 5-1 thrashing of the New York Rangers, they are on a roll winning three straight and grabbing a hold of the Conference by two points.
Montreal demonstrated how deadly they can be with quick puck movement, fast transitions up ice, aggressive defense, and overall out-working their opponents. And that was with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Carey Price being unavailable for one-third of the game.
The Canadiens elite goaltender did not return for the last 20 minutes on Thursday night against the Rangers due to a leg injury.
According to the @NHL twitter account, Price will be unavailable for at least a week. It was his second injury of the season, the first being the same leg injury which caused him to miss eight games before returning against the New York Islanders last Friday.
— NHL (@NHL) November 27, 2015
One would think that bodes well for any team facing a PRICE-less Montreal squad, but that hasn’t been the case.
The Canadiens have thrived with their franchise goaltender out by not dwelling on the negatives, and adapting to their loss. Their play on the ice has not faltered, going 5-2-2 in his absence with rookie Mike Condon taking over in his absence.
The Devils, after losing their game 2-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thanksgiving Eve, probably didn’t enjoy their turkey as much as they wanted.
And what better way to avenge Wednesday night than to beat the Canadiens at at the Rock.
This will be the first of a home-and-home series between the two teams, and they get back at it tomorrow night at the Bell Centre.
For New Jersey, we may see rookie Keith Kincaid in net tonight. In his last outing against the Edmonton Oilers, Kincaid didn’t fair too well, giving up four goals on 26 shots.
It didn’t help that his teammates didn’t give him much offensive support, only mustering one power play goal in the whole 60 minutes of regulation.
The Devils have been outscored 12-8, since shutting out the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 on November 14th.
A better effort will need to be put forth at home tonight, especially in this contest with the top team in the East in the building.
Maybe the reincarnation of David Puddy from Seinfeld could spur the team on: