The New Jersey Devils will step on the ice for the first time since a lackluster effort against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. With a nice break, the Devils are seeking a much better outing than in Buffalo. They were losers by a score of 7-2 in another game that featured several defensive breakdowns. After blowing a 4-0 lead against the Jets to lose 5-4 in a shootout, the Devils responded with a 7-2 loss in Buffalo.
That’s a quick way to lose fan support in just two games. There was plenty of hype all summer surrounding this Devils team. The acquisition of P.K. Subban was one of the most discussed moves of the offseason and Jack Hughes fell into their laps after getting luck in the draft lottery.
It’s clear that the defensive investment that the Devils made on Subban hasn’t made an impact yet. Is Subban to blame? Absolutely not. First, it’s only game and second, the blue line needs more help. They can’t just rely on Subban. He was the best guy on the market that the Devils could have brought in, but it doesn’t mean the Devils suddenly have depth defensively.
The Devils are also looking for consistency and health between the pipes. One game into the season and Cory Schneider had to leave the game because of cramping, leaving the crease to Mackenzie Blackwood, who got lit up and blew a 4-1 lead. Blackwood was back in net against the Sabres and that of course went horribly wrong as well. Schneider is scheduled to be back tonight, but he must find consistency and a rhythm for the Devils. Adding Subban to the equation will be irrelevant if Schneider doesn’t stay healthy and plays well.
The Flyers will play just their second game of the season tonight after dispatching the Blackhawks on Friday, so they’ve had an even bigger layoff than the Devils. The NHL schedule can be a bit all over the place early in the season. Carter Hart, who made a name for himself as a rookie last season, will likely see the crease for the Flyers. Head below for our free Devils vs. Flyers pick.
N.J. Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers Pick
When things start to click for the Devils this season offensively, they’re going to be a really fun team to watch. The development of rookie Jack Hughes will be crucial to the Devils reaching their full potential. He is only 18 years old, so we have to keep that in mind when evaluating him thus far. It hasn’t been great news for him, as he searches for his first point in the NHL.
The only statistics that Hughes has reported it two games played with a +/- of -3. Hughes has also recorded 3 shots on net. Typically, back-checking for young forwards in the NHL can be difficult and takes time to develop. Guys are a lot faster than they’re used to and it takes some getting used to. It should eventually come to Hughes, but in the meantime the Devils are likely going to continue defensively with him on the ice. Getting paired with Blake Coleman and Wayne Simmonds on the third line helps, as Coleman and Simmonds are a couple of well-rounded veterans.
Cory Schneider has been below average against the Flyers in his career. In 12 games played, Schneider has posted a 2.90 GAA and 0.897 save percentage. It’s incredible like that the Flyers come out and exploit the New Jersey defence in their home opener. While Schneider has been solid in his career at home with a 2.20 GAA, it slips to a 2.60 GAA when travelling on the road.
Carter Hart played one game against the Devils and a rookie. He was shaky with a 3.15 GAA and 0.885 save percentage. The Flyers were winners by a score of 6-3 in their most recent meeting on March 1st. With the defence reeling for the Devils, expect the Flyers to put together a similar performance with 5 or so goals. They’ve already allowed 12 goals and that number should grow much larger tonight. I like a 5-3 or 5-4 final with the OVER a good bet in Philadelphia tonight.