New Jersey Devils
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Here’s everything to know as New Jersey Devils must finish their homestand on the right note, & see additional trending topics from Devils hockey. 

Kyle McKenna

NEWARK, NJ – Halloween has arrived and in addition to the first month of the NHL’s 2019-20 campaign ending.

It’s been scary at times for the New Jersey Devils, who enter Wednesday night’s contest vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning as the worst team in both the Eastern Conference and league standings. It’s hard to believe at times, but the Garden State hopes this spooky beginning for its Devils is nothing more than just sorting out some kinks.

ESNY looks at New Jersey’s upcoming week and other trending topics in the world of Devils hockey.

New Jersey hosts Tampa for the first time this season (7 p.m. ET, MSG+) and looks to improve to 3-2-0 on the six-game homestand which began on Oct. 14.

The Devils and Lightning have flipped-flopped final results over the past two seasons; Jersey was winless (0-3-0) last season against the 2019 Presidents Trophy winners, while the Devils were 3-0-0 against Tampa back in 2017-18.

Tampa, a Stanley Cup favorite, hasn’t displayed an ideal start on the ice either after posting a 5-3-2 record. The Bolts take on the New York Rangers at the Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBSN).

Entering the contest, New Jersey’s leading scorer is forward Taylor Hall, who’s netted one goal while adding six assists on the year. There’s no better time for the 2018 Hart Trophy winner to start a hot streak and have a statement game than on Wednesday night.

Youngster, Jack Hughes, enters the final game of October riding a three-game point streak (2G-3A-5PTS) and has recorded a power-play goal in two-straight games. There’s no doubting that his overall play and comfort level has improved over the past two weeks of the young season.

#McKennasDigest: Aside from lockout seasons (1994-95 & 2012-13) the Devils have only once finished the month of October with less than three wins, which was back 1983-84 – the team’s second season.

On Friday night, expect a lot of banter over Twitter between the Devils and their rivals the Philadelphia Flyers. The two face-off for the second time this season at the Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, MSG+ 2).

Fans recall the Flyers trolling the Devils hard during the Metropolitan Division foes fist meeting back on Oct. 9, which was also a 4-0 loss to the City of Brother Love in enemy territory.

However, the Devils struck back earlier this week with a classic tweet in large thanks to P.K. Subban and his fiancée.

Philly enters the contest playing better hockey of late after winning three of its last four games, but battle the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night in the Steel City prior to heading over to the Rock.

Are Jersey’s next two home games “must-win” games?

Borderline, yes.

Collecting three points in the standings should be the minimum expectation for a team that’s hopeful to turn things around in a big way on the ice.

Additional Notes & Trending Topics

Forward Kyle Palmieri discussed his take on Halloween with Devils team reporter Amanda Stein via NJD.TV on Monday.

Head Coach John Hynes addressed the media during Monday’s post-skate and is hopeful, just as this hockey enthusiast, that forward Wayne Simmonds can start cashing in – because he deserves it.

No. 17 has been one of the team’s best players over the past three games and it seems he just needs some puck luck to start producing on a consistent basis for Jersey.

Expected starting netminder for Wednesday night, Cory Schneider, weighed in on the team’s Halloween party.

It was announced that defenseman Connor Carrick will miss at least one month of action after suffering a broken right pinky finger.

Tune into the Devils Official Podcast as Stein and Matt Loughlin sit down to talk with forward, Nico Hischier.

Follow Kyle on TWITTER

Kyle McKenna is a freelancer who covers the NHL for Elite Sports New York, Hooked On Hockey Magazine & Fansided. Follow him on Twitter @KMcKenna_tLT5 and use the hashtag #McKennasDigest to have your NHL questions featured in an article or answered over his weekly NHL podcast.