The New Jersey Devils will face off against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight in the first game of a home and home series. The teams will also play Friday in Philadelphia. In two previous meetings this season, both at the Prudential Center, the Devils are 2-0-0 winning by scores of 3-0 and 5-3 respectively. There is no better way to break out of a losing streak then by playing a team you have had recent success against.
Entering tonight’s contest, the Flyers are led by Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux. Voracek leads the team with 12 goals, 17 assists, and 29 points, and has registered five points in his last five games. Giroux is a close second in scoring with 8 goals and 17 assists, and collected two assists in the last meeting between the Devils and Flyers.
I place my Devils spotlight on David Clarkson and Johan Hedberg for tonight’s contest. Clarkson leads the Devils in goals with 10, but has not scored in his last twelve games. You have to go all the way back to the last meeting between these two teams to find David’s name listed in the goal column. Clarkson needs to get going again in the goal department and tonight’s opponent provides a perfect opportunity to do so. In the previous two meetings with the Flyers this season Clarkson has registered two goals.
Hedberg is coming off a stellar performance on Sunday night that led the Devils to a shootout victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Can he win two games in a row? Will he give the Devils an opportunity to beat the high powered Flyers offense? These are questions he needs to answer in a big way tonight. I think he’ll get the job done and give the Devils a chance to win. He only has to hold down the fort in net a little longer as Martin Brodeur skated yesterday for the first time since being placed on injured reserve.
The Devils (12-9-5) are currently second in the Atlantic Division behind the Pittsburgh Penguins . They are trying to break out of a stretch in which they are win-less in seven of their last nine games, and to win their second consecutive game. The Flyers (12-14-1) are currently in fifth place place in the Atlantic Division behind the New York Islanders, New York Rangers, and the teams mentioned above.
Tonight’s 7:30 match-up, a nationally televised game at the Prudential Center, will be the third of five meetings between the teams this season. I believe Doc Emrick will be in the building for the call on NBC Sports Network. You know that there will be magic in some facet tonight.
The Devils are not in desperate need of a win tonight, but a victory would go a long way in building some confidence going forward, especially since the teams will face-off against each other again just forty-eight hours after the puck drops tonight.