The Philadelphia Flyers come into Newark tonight to face the struggling New Jersey Devils. The Devils will look to snap a five-game losing streak.
- New Jersey Devils (22-11-8)
- Philadelphia Flyers (19-15-8)
- Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, 7 p.m. ET, MSG+
- Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
The New Jersey Devils team we saw as red-hot to begin the season sputtered into their bye week dropping five in a row and accumulating just three out of a possible ten points. It was not for lack of effort as in a five-game stretch, the Devils had three go-ahead goals disallowed, and also allowed a goal to Washington while they had six players on the ice.
Two of these goals were because of ‘offsides’ and the other was for ‘goalie interference’. They were a compilation of some of the worst officiating decisions I’ve seen in a long time, and one could argue they took wins off the board for New Jersey. Even the players are joking about it.
Devils' second power-play unit scores a goal in a drill
"Doesn't matter. It was offside." – Andy Greene
— Chris Ryan (@ChrisRyan_NJ) January 12, 2018
Nico Vs. Nolan
The major storyline tonight is between two rookies, Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier. Nolan versus Nico was the talk of the town before the draft began as to who the number one overall pick would be. The Devils made the choice of Nico, and thus far it has worked out. In 41 games for the Devils Nico has eight goals and 18 assists, while Patrick, who has missed a handful of games, has just two goals and six assists this season. So, don’t be surprised if he lights the lamp tonight because that is how the Devils luck is going lately.
That all has to be in the past for New Jersey now entering the second half of the season as they are in a tight playoff race. They can’t afford to lose too many more games in a row especially considering their first four games out of the bye week are against Metropolitan division opponents.
Tonight the opponent is the Flyers. This will be the first of four meetings between the clubs this season. The Flyers didn’t necessarily have the strongest first half of the season, but they’ve fought and got themselves in a playoff race. The Devils have a tough one in tonight’s rivalry game.
The Flyers are led by captain Claude Giroux who has been an assist machine this season with 38. He also has 14 goals to go along with that. Jakub Voracek (eight goals 43 assists), Sean Couturier (23 G, 19A), and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (nine G, 23A) come up the rear in points for Philly, although it looks like Gostisbehere will be out tonight due to illness.
The Couturier, Giroux, and Voracek line is one that can give the Devils young defensemen fits tonight. If they are able to shut that line down, they have a great chance to win.
The Devils hosted an optional morning skate this morning, and it appears that Taylor Hall and Brian Gibbons were the only two players who opted to not skate. As for lineup changes from last Sunday, see Amanda Stein‘s tweet below.
#NJDevils: Drew Stafford in tonight. Noesen is out.
Severson in, Santini out.
— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) January 13, 2018
Taking Steven Santini out of the lineup makes a lot of sense to me. Sometimes you just need to see the game from the press box, and he made a huge mistake that led to an Islander goal last week. Coach John Hynes has been all about accountability this season, so putting Damon Severson back in the lineup is the right move. I wouldn’t expect Santini to ride the pine for that long.
Hynes also said yesterday that Cory Schneider would be between the pipes for the Devils tonight.
The only major news from the Flyers lineup is that Gostisbehere is out tonight.
Brian Elliott will be between the pipes for the 17th time in 18 games for Philly.
Although both teams are coming off of their bye week, the Devils are 5-2-3 in their last ten, and the Flyers are 5-4-1.