Preview: New Jersey Devils vs Nashville Predators

New Jersey Devils (23-21-11) vs Nashville Predators (24-23-8) – Game 2 of 2 – New Jersey Leads 1-0 – Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee – January 31, 2014

Devils TV – MSG+
Predators TV – FSSM

The New Jersey Devils and Nashville Predators will meet for the last time this season and the only time at the Bridgestone Arena. The Devils have a chance to sweep the Predators in the season series after defeating them 5-0 at the Prudential Center in November.

The Devils needed to gain ground in the Eastern Conference divisional and wild card races with literally everyone not in a playoff spot losing at least their last game. The Devils and Buffalo Sabres are the only teams not in a playoff spot to have won their last game.

They did just that last night in Dallas as they swept the Stars this season in an important OT victory. The Devils gave up the tying goal with 55 seconds left in the game and it looked like the Devils were going to mentally implode if they lost this game in that fashion.

Jan 30, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Patrik Elias (26) reacts to being tripped by Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (not pictured) during the overtime period at the American Airlines Center. Elias scores the game winning goal on the ensuing power play. The Devils defeated the Stars 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Patrik Elias made sure that didn’t happen with his 16th career OT goal. He trails only Jaromir Jagr on the all-time list. Jagr has 18.

Elias recorded his 10th goal and 21st assist of the season last night. It is his 3rd goal in as many games.

Cory Schneider may be the starter tonight as it is still unknown to this point who will get the start. Schneider stopped 14 shots and gave up 2 goals in the win. Schneider is now 10-10-7 on the season.

Martin Brodeur could also be getting the start tonight considering it is the back half of back-to-back games. Brodeur has not played since the debacle at Yankee Stadium. He is 13-11-4 on the season.

The Devils are tied for the 7th best PP unit in the NHL at 20.4% but are slightly edged by the #6 Nashville Predators who are 20.8% efficient.

The Devils, however, have the 2nd best PK in the NHL only behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Devils are 86.9% efficient while the Penguins are 87.3%. The Predators sit in 24th with 79.8%.

The Devils certainly need to capitalize on the powerplay opportunities while trying to keep the Predator PP from scoring as well.

The Devils are in a 3-team tie for 4th in the wild card race with the Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings. Interestingly enough, all three teams play tonight.

The scenario could easily play out to be (assuming they all win):

Carolina or New Jersey takes 3rd place in the Metropolitan.

Detroit or CAR/NJ moves into a tie for the last wild card spot.

 

Stats courtesy of NHL.com and ESPN.com.

 

The Devils return home to play Colorado on February 3. See the game live by getting your New Jersey Devils tickets here.

Topics: Cory Schneider, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Patrik Elias

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