Fresh off an impressive 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins (8-4) on Saturday, the newly-named first-place New Jersey Devils (7-1-3) will play the back-end of a home-and-home tonight against those Penguins. In its victory yesterday, New Jersey took over first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, and it will look to extend those leads tonight. The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m. at Consol Energy Center. Here are the game notes and the preview:
Extending Streak: After setting a season-high win streak yesterday with their fourth straight win, the Devils are hoping to add on to that and get win no. five in a row tonight in Pittsburgh. A victory would give New Jersey a three-point lead over the Penguins for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Unfriendly Confines: Even though the Devils are coming off a solid win over the Penguins, Pittsburgh hasn’t been a kind place to them in the past. Last weekend, Consol Energy Center witnessed the Pens put in a 5-1 thumping of New Jersey. Last season, the Penguins won two of their three home games against the Devils with a combined score of 9-3.
Moose Back in Net: As expected, Devils’ goalie Johan Hedberg will make the start after Martin Brodeur‘s big win yesterday. Hedberg has been magnificent in his two starts this season, going 1-0-1 with a 0.48 goals-against-averge and one shutout. At this rate, the Devils are going to be tough to beat during these back-to-back sets with two goalies that are playing at the top of their game
Productivity is Key: As the Devils noted at the beginning of the season, in order to be successful, they will need to get production from everybody. Saturday’s win over the Penguins was a good example of that as Adam Henrique scored, along with Stefan Matteau and Bobby Butler, who each tallied their first career goals with New Jersey.
With players like that contributing every night, and players like Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, and Travis Zajac that are going to put up numbers regardless of the situation, the Devils have serious chance to be a legitimate playoff threat as the season goes on.