New Jersey Devils Game 80 Preview: at Ottawa Senators

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 23: Mackenzie Blackwood #29 of the New Jersey Devils warms up prior to the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils and the Los Angeles Kings on January 23, 2022 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images)

The New Jersey Devils start their final road trip of the season with a matchup against the Ottawa Senators.

Record: 27-44-8 (62 points, 7th in Metro)

The Opponent: Ottawa Senators (31-41-7) – FHN Site: Dripping in Red

Puckdrop: 7:00 PM ET

Venue: Canadian Tire Centre

Expected Goaltenders: Mackenzie Blackwood (9-9-3) vs. Anton Forsberg (20-17-4)

Television Broadcasts: MSG+, TSN5, RDS2

Ottawa Senators

Ottawa comes into tonight’s game on a three-game win streak. Their most recent victory came on Saturday when they defeated the Montréal Canadiens 6-4.

The Senators were able to score six goals despite only getting 26 shots on goaltender Carey Price. Mark Kastelic potted his first two NHL goals in the game as ten different Senators found themselves on the scoresheet. Goaltender Anton Forsberg made 44 saves in his 20th win of the season.

Forsberg has taken the reigns as the club’s starting goaltender this season and will make a team-leading 43rd start of the season tonight in New Jersey. The 29-year-old comes into tonight’s game with a 2.82 GAA and .917 save percentage as well as one shutout to go with his 20-17-4 record.

New Jersey Devils

In a rare event, the Devils got solid goaltending in their two losses over the weekend. The duo of Jon Gillies and Andrew Hammond stopped a combined 47 of 51 shots in their contests against the Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings. The team was let down by their offense that scored only two goals in the two games.

New Jersey was flat against Detroit on Sunday. Yegor Sharangovich put the only puck past goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic but the goal was reviewed and called back due to offsides. The team was only able to muster 17 shots as they lost to Detroit 3-0.

Mackenzie Blackwood is finally healthy and will be making his return to the crease tonight in Ottawa. Blackwood will be making his first appearance since a 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on January 19.

The 25-year-old has battled injury all season and has struggled as a result of this. Blackwood has two shutouts, a 3.29 GAA and a .894 save percentage this season to go with his 9-9-3 record.

The Devils could be without several players tonight since there has been an illness going around the organization. The statuses of P.K. Subban and Nico Hischier are unknown heading into tonight’s contest.

Player to Watch: Reilly Walsh

New Jersey’s most recent call-up is 23-year-old Reilly Walsh. The young defenseman has been performing very well with the Utica Comets of the AHL. He has 42 points (nine goals, 33 assists) in 69 games this season and has shown his potential to be an offensive defenseman at the NHL level.

Walsh looks to have the same impact that recent call-ups Nikita Okhotyuk and Kevin Bahl have had on the blueline. New Jersey’s defense could be crowded next season with the Bahl, Okhotyuk, Walsh, and Shakir Mukhamadullin all expected to compete for a roster spot which makes this a prime opportunity to show the higher-ups his value moving forward.

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