#4. The Devils’ fourth line might be good
One of the few bright spots in the Devils’ home opener victory over Detroit might have actually been the fourth line – a unit that Devils fans have consistently bemoaned for most of the last decade. Free agent signing Tomas Nosek made his Devils debut alongside Michael McLeod and Curtis Lazar, and statistically, they were the best line on the ice that night.
New Jersey’s trio combined for 11 shots for and two shots against, giving them a shot share of 84.62 percent for the game – comfortably the best of any line that played more than two minutes together at even strength.
After one game, head coach Lindy Ruff and the Devils swapped out Lazar for Nathan Bastian, and the results were nowhere near as good. Against the ‘Yotes, the line of Nosek, McLeod, and Bastian produced five shots for and five against – a neutral 50 percent. Indeed, it is neither game-changing nor the reason they lost to Arizona, but Lazar has certainly earned his place based on merit.
Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see how New Jersey continues to divvy up the time between the two, but if Lazar can keep up his play, that will be a difference-maker down the line.