After a disastrous back-to-back, the New Jersey Devils return home for a matchup with the Ottawa Senators to begin a pivotal stretch of games.
Tale of the Tape
Record: 9-9-4 (22 points, 6th in Metro)
The Opponent: Ottawa Senators (6-15-1) – FHN Site: Dripping in Red
Puckdrop: 7:00 PM ET
Venue: Prudential Center
Expected Goaltenders: Mackenzie Blackwood (4-3-2) vs. Anton Forsberg (3-4-0)
Television Broadcasts: MSG+, TSN5, RDS2
The Senators currently find themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. That does not mean a team can just take the night off against them. In their last two games, Ottawa defeated two the league’s top teams in the Colorado Avalanche and Carolina Hurricanes.
Goaltender Anton Forsberg is expected to make his 10th start of the season tonight. Forsberg seems to be the team’s current number one goalie since Matt Murray cleared waivers and was assigned to the Belleville Senators of the AHL.
Forsberg has not been great for Ottawa this season. The 29-year-old has a 3-6-1 record with a 3.64 GAA and .899 save percentage on the year.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils are slumping hard as of late. New Jersey has only won two of their last 10 games and played two non-competitive games late last week.
In their most recent outing against the Winnipeg Jets, the Devils erased a three-goal deficit and took the lead only to lose the game 8-4. Goaltender Jonathan Bernier struggled mightily stopping only 26 of 32 shots before being pulled.
Once again, the team fell victim to a slow start. In their last 10 games, New Jersey has been outscored 14-6 in the first period. Allowing this many goals in the opening frame is an easy way for the team to break away from any type of game plan and start scrambling.
Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood is expected to get the start tonight. He is looking to bounce back after he struggled against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. Blackwood is 4-3-2 this season with a 3.21 GAA and .906 save percentage.
Player to Watch: Pavel Zach
Pavel Zacha has been invisible for the last stretch of game. The 24-year-old has not scored a goal since November 24 and has only one point in his last five games.
New Jersey looked to Zacha for production, especially on the power play, early in the season. Zacha needs to get back to shooting the puck whenever he gets the opportunity. No more passing up shooting opportunities in the slot which is a trend the whole team seems to be following lately.
If the Devils want to get going in this important stretch of games, then Zacha needs to be a contributing factor. Look for Zacha to use his above average shot to ignite some offense against a below-average Senators team.