New Jersey Devils Game 16 Preview: at Tampa Bay Lightning

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JANUARY 24: Nico Hischier #13 of the New Jersey Devils competes against Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Bud Light NHL Save Streak event during the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Enterprise Center on January 24, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Coming off a terrible loss, the New Jersey Devils look to bounce back against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tale of the Tape

Record: 7-5-3 (17 points, 6th in Metro)

The Opponent: Tampa Bay Lightning (9-3-3) – FHN Site: Thunderstruck

Puckdrop: 4:00 PM ET

Venue: Amalie Arena

Expected Goaltenders: Jonathan Bernier (4-2-1) vs. Brian Elliott (1-1-0)

Television Broadcasts: MSG+, BSSUN, NHLN

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning are as dangerous as ever. The back-to-back Stanley Cup champions are on a nine-game point streak and currently sit third in the Atlantic Division.

In their last game, Tampa Bay was able to overcome a game-tying-goal by Philadelphia Flyers’ captain Claude Giroux in the final ten seconds of the third period. Goaltender Andre Vasilevskiy was perfect in the shootout as the Lightning defeated the Flyers 4-3.

With the Lightning having to play Sunday against the Minnesota Wild, expect veteran goaltender Brian Elliott against the Devils. The 36-year-old goaltender carries a 1-1-0 record with 3.08 GAA and .880 save percentage into today’s game.

New Jersey Devils

New Jersey played their best period of the season in the opening frame against the Florida Panthers. In that first period, the Devils recorded 22 shots and a Dougie Hamilton goal. Everything was going smoothly until Carter Verhaeghe scored with seven seconds left in the period.

That goal seemed to suck all the confidence out of the team as New Jersey suffered one of the worst periods of the season that saw Florida score three goals en route to a 4-1 victory.

Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood was pulled after allowing four goals on 27 shots and Jonathan Bernier stopped all 14 shots in the relief appearance. Expect the Devils to turn to Bernier for today’s game after a strong effort in Florida.

The Devils have not put together a full 60-minute effort since their 4-0 win over the New York Islanders on November 11. If New Jersey has any hope of ending their three-game skid, then they need to keep their foot on the gas for a full game against one of the league’s best teams.

Player to Watch: Nico Hischier

Nico Hischier has absorbed a lot of undeserved flak from the fanbase in the young season. Hischier’s defensive game is as good as ever and he has nine points in 14 games including points in five of his last seven.

A lot of weight falls on a captain when a team begins to struggle and Hischier is no exception to that rule. Expect Hischier to have a strong game after being left off the scoresheet in Florida.


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