The St. Louis Blues welcome the New Jersey Devils to the Enterprise Center on Tuesday night for what could be a tricky test for the Devils. It should be more difficult than what they faced at home in Newark on Sunday. The Devils were struggling early and in a 2-0 hole, but calmly erased the deficit and forced overtime. They got the game into a shootout against the Blue Jackets and ended up on the winning side with a 4-3 victory.
Jesper Bratt was able to get the winner in the seventh round of the shootout. Despite allowing 3 goals, Mackenzie Blackwood should be acknowledged in that one. Blackwood stopped 52 of 55 shots, as the defence left him there to fend for himself in the crease. The Devils were fortunate to get the win, but they’ll take any win they can get this season.
It hasn’t been a pretty 2019-20 campaign for the Devils, and that’s been the case from out of the gates in October. There were people hypothesizing that it was just a slow start and they’d eventually wake up, but nope, the Devils have been a mess this season. Firing John Hynes was a move to try and jump start the team, but it really didn’t do much. Hynes is still a good coach that was working with a team that apparently listened to too much offseason media talk.
The media and public hyped the Devils up pretty good in the summer. Adding P.K. Subban and Wayne Simmonds to a team that was already decent last season made it look like the Devils were cooking up something in Newark. When the games were actually played, though, the team on paper didn’t look like the same dangerous unit on the ice. They’ve fired a head coach and traded away Taylor Hall, who won the Hart Trophy with the Devils in 2018.
The front office sensed that the ship was sinking at that point and they wanted to unload Hall before it went underwater. The Devils recently sent another playmaker away, as they traded Blake Coleman to the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s tough news for the Devils to take. This season could have been special, but guys who figured to be a big part of that equation will be playing for other teams in the playoffs. Along with Coleman, the Devils also dealt captain Andy Greene to the Islanders. They are in full trade and tank mode now. Head below for our free Devils vs. Blues pick.
New Jersey Devils vs. St. Louis Blues Betting Odds:
Devils vs. Blues Prediction:
The Devils are going to need to get a big lift down the stretch if they want to win games. Blake Coleman and Andy Greene are two critical cogs that will no longer be there for the Devils. At this point, the best-case scenario would be to lose and bolter their odds in the draft lottery. They lucked out by winning it last season and getting Jack Hughes.
Another No. 1 overall pick to add Alexis Lafreniere to the team would be a big score for the Devils. In any event, the Devils have a great chance to add a difference maker in the draft this season. And with Hughes potentially taking a big leap next season, the situation for the Devils in the coming years may not be that dreary.
The outlook for the Devils on the road this season has been dreary, though. They’ve been mediocre at home with a record of 10-10-10. Mediocre turns into dreadful on the road, as they sport a record of 12-16-0 in 2019-20. That’s actually not as bad as the numbers indicate. The Devils have scored 2.46 goals per game, while allowing 3.57 goals per game on the road.
With that in mind, I think the Devils are fortunate to be 12-16-0 on the road given those stats. Overall, the Devils are next to last in the league with 3.41 goals against per game. It shouldn’t get much better defensively with Greene getting traded. Mackenzie Blackwood had to pull a rabbit out of the hat to beat the Blue Jackets on Sunday. The defence allowed a whopping 55 shots in that contest.
St. Louis has been ice cold recently. The comfortable lead they had in the Central Division is gone, as they’re tied with the Stars at 74 points going into Tuesday. They’re on a five-game losing streak and have losses in seven of their last eight outings. That said, the Blues have been a tough team to beat at the Enterprise Center.
They own a superb record of 18-6-5 at home, which includes 3.31 goals scored and 2.45 goals against per game. Jordan Binnington has been much better at home in 2019-20. He has posted a 2.29 GAA and 0.919 save percentage in St. Louis versus a 3.35 GAA and 0.896 save percentage elsewhere. This looks like the perfect spot for the Blues to shake their recent struggles off and get back on track. A Blues’ 4-1 or 4-2 win looks about right.