New Jersey Devils Game 18 Preview: at Nashville Predators

NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 24: New Jersey Devils center Yegor Sharangovich (17) celebrates with fans after scoring during the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils and the Minnesota Wild on November 24, 2021 at the Prudentil Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The New Jersey Devils are on the road for their first matchup with the Nashville Predators in almost two years.

Tale of the Tape

Record: 8-5-4 (20 points, 6th in Metro)

The Opponent: Nashville Predators (10-8-1) – FHN Site: Smashville Bites

Puckdrop: 6:00 PM ET

Venue: Bridgestone Arena

Expected Goaltenders: Mackenzie Blackwood (3-1-2) vs. Juuse Saros (8-7-1)

Television Broadcasts: ESPN+, HULU

Nashville Predators

The Predators have not looked overly impressive in the young season as they sit 5th in the Central Division. Although they’re currently above NHL .500, Nashville has higher aspirations than a .553 points percentage.

In their last outing, the Predators suffered a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday. The only bright spot for the club was a pair of third period goals from forward Filip Forsberg. Nashville has dropped three of their last four games coming into tonight’s contest.

Juuse Saros is expected to get the start tonight. Saros has played well this season starting 16 games while posting a 8-7-1 record with a 2.53 GAA and .917 save percentage. Like the club, the 26-year-old goaltender has also dropped three of his last four games.

New Jersey Devils

Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild was crazy before the puck even dropped. Due to the closure of the Holland Tunnel, the Wild were late getting to the arena which caused the game to be delayed around a half-hour.

A pair of goals by Minnesota, coupled with more than a few hit posts by the Devils, led to a 2-0 deficit heading into the third period. Pavel Zacha brought New Jersey to within one and a late goal by Yegor Sharangovich stole a point for the Devils. New Jersey went on to lose the game 3-2 in a shootout.

The Devils have shown in their last couple of games that they have the ability to come back late in games. While poor starts are not ideal, the team has shown their ability to kick their play into another gear and dig themselves out of a hole.

Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood is expected to get his 5th consecutive start for New Jersey. Blackwood had another strong showing against Minnesota bringing his record to 3-1-2. The 24-year-old goaltender has 2.84 GAA and .922 save percentage with one shutout this season.

Player to Watch: P.K. Subban

P.K. Subban has had a strong start to the season. While his three-game point streak came to an end Wednesday, 32-year-old defenseman has nine points on the year and has found a home on the team’s third pairing with Jonas Siegenthaler.

While no longer a Norris Trophy caliber defenseman, Subban has shown flashes of what has made him so great in the past.

Players always seem to have a little extra jump when heading back to their old home. Tonight’s game marks the second time Subban makes his return to Nashville. In his first appearance, Subban was held off the scoresheet.

Expect Subban to play some motivated hockey while playing a very important part in the Devils’ transition game as well as providing a shot on the power play.

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