New Jersey Devils Game 29 Preview: at Detroit Red Wings

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 16: Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson (71) battles New Jersey Devils defenseman Ty Smith (24) during the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils and the Vegas Golden Knights on December 16, 2021 aat the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The struggling New Jersey Devils are on the road to take on the Detroit Red Wings for the first time this season.

Tale of the Tape

Record: 10-13-5 (25 points, 7th in Metro)

The Opponent: Detroit Red Wings (14-13-3)

FHN Site: Winged Warriors

Puckdrop: 8:00 PM ET

Venue: Little Caesars Arena

Expected Goaltenders: Jon Gillies (0-0-1) vs. Thomas Greiss (5-6-0)

Television Broadcasts: MSG+, BSDET

Detroit Red Wings

The biggest story in Detroit this season has been the team’s youth movement. Rookies Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider have taken the league by storm and thrusted themself into the heart of the Calder Trophy conversation. Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, a Calder finalist last season, is seen as Detroit’s goaltender of the future after being acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes in the offseason.

The Red Wings have struggled recently dropping four of their last five games. In their most recent outing, Detroit suffered a 5-3 loss to a Carolina Hurricanes team that was missing six skaters due to Covid-19 protocol.

Like much of the NHL, Detroit comes into tonight’s game missing five players and two coaches, including head coach Jeff Blashill, due to Covid-19. Detroit will turn to goaltender Thomas Greiss for tonight’s matchup with Nedeljkovic on the NHL’s Covid-19 Protocol list.

Greiss has struggled mightily in his second season with the Red Wings. The 35-year-old goaltender has a 5-6-0 record coming into tonight with a 3.67 GAA and .889 save percentage.

New Jersey Devils

The Devils are coming off of another poor loss at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights. New Jersey jumped out to an early lead only to give that lead away later in the first period and eventually drop the game 5-3. This loss increased their losing streak to four games and leaves them with one win in their last nine.

Forwards Nico Hischier and Jesper Boqvist as well as defensemen P.K. Subban, Christian Jaros, and Ryan Graves remain out tonight due to Covid-19 protocol. New Jersey will also be without starting goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood as he is day-to-day with a neck injury.

With the absence of Blackwood, New Jersey is expected to turn to Jon Gillies tonight in goal for his second start of the season. The Devils acquired Gillies from the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday in exchange for future considerations. The 27-year-old goaltender has played only 13 games in his career and has a record of 4-5-2 with a 2.72 GAA and .905 GAA.

Player to Watch: Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton has been everything the Devils expected when they signed him back in July. With the Devils’ blue line heavily depleted due to Covid-19, the team must look towards their superstar defenseman to steady the back end.

After playing almost 25 minutes against the Golden Knights on Thursday, expect Hamilton to log heavy minutes again tonight as the Devils look to break their four-game skid.

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