The New Jersey Devils are in Sin City on Tuesday night for a date with the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. The Devils are just looking to build some momentum going into the offseason. Some more experience for Jack Hughes is important as well. It hasn’t been a fairy tale season for the 18-year-old rookie, but he still has a lot of promise. Hughes has looked plenty raw, though the potential is evident. The Devils are coming off a 3-0 win in Anaheim against the Ducks on Sunday.
We haven’t been able to say it a lot in the last two years, but Cory Schneider was superb between the pipes. He earned the shutout for his first since February 21, 2019 against the Ottawa Senators. It was the 26th of his career, as Schenider has looked good since coming back to the NHL from the AHL. The rest of the season is an audition period for Schneider. He knows how important it is to impress. It’d be tough to see him on an NHL roster next year if he came back and struggled.
With the win Sunday, the Devils advanced to 26-26-12 on the season. If this were a rebuilding campaign, then this wouldn’t be a bad year. However, the Devils were expecting to have a breakout campaign and make a deep run in the playoffs. That won’t be happening, as the Devils are already making vacation plans for April. In any event, maybe it happens a year late and we see the Devils reach their potential in 2020-21.
The Golden Knights just about reached the promise land with a Stanley Cup in their expansion season two years ago. They are back this season looking to get back there. It’s certainly possible, but the Golden Knights are convincing no one if they lose to bad teams, 4-1, often in March. That would likely spoil their lead in the Pacific Division.
They’re currently up on the Oilers by 2 points for the lead. I will say that the Knights didn’t deserve that 4-1 loss against the Kings. The shots were 43 to 17, and if you didn’t know it, you’d assume that the Golden Knights only had 17 shots. But nope, the Kings won 4-1 with only 17 shots vs 43. There was zero puck luck for the Knights in that one. Head below for our free Devils vs. Golden Knights pick.
New Jersey Devils vs. Vegas Golden Knights Betting Odds:
Devils vs. Golden Knights Prediction:
The Golden Knights are one of those teams who is going to have to get hot at the right moment in April. In the sense that on paper they aren’t better than several other teams that are going to be in the playoffs. However, the expansion team Golden Knights didn’t have a brilliant team on paper, either.
A lot changes when the puck drops on the postseason, and having the desire to be better than the other team goes a long way. The Golden Knights fed off a lot of desire and hunger in 2017-18. Newly acquired goaltender, Robin Lehner, is expected to fill the net at T-Mobile Arena against the Devils tonight.
Lehner will be making his second start with the Golden Knights. The front office noticed that Malcolm Subban was not going to cut it as Marc-Andre-Fleury’s backup. Too much pressure was on Fleury, and Plan B was non-existent if Fleury was not playing well or injured. Lehner fixes that problem for the Golden Knights.
He posted a 0.941 save percentage with 2 goals against in his first appearance as a Knight. The effort resulted in a 4-2 win for Vegas. Fleury followed that up with an abysmal performance against the Kings with 3 goals against on only 17 shots. If Lehner show up on Tuesday night for another solid outing, Peter DeBoer may be tempted to stick with him.
The Devils should be an opponent where Lehner looks sharp. Fleury should have been good against the lowly Kings’ offence, yet that didn’t happen. Nothing can be said about the defence, they showed up to play and allowed just 17 shots to find their way to the net. If Lehner can get that support, expect a big night for him between the pipes.
The Devils are 26th in the NHL with 2.66 goals scored per game. Their goal scoring falls to a measly 2.39 goals per game on the road. If they’re going to pull off the upset in Las Vegas, the onus is going to lay with the defence and Mackenzie Blackwood, who will likely be back in net. After a shaky start to the year, Blackwood has asserted himself as a go-to option for the Devils between the pipes.
Blackwood has allowed 2 or fewer goals in six of his last seven outings, which includes two shutouts and two games of only 1 goal against. Credit the defence who’ve been upping the pressure recently as well. They have finally looked like a team that has an identity. In their last ten games, the Devils have allowed only 2.1 goals per game. With the offence scoring just 2.4 goals per game, they were only able to win six out of those ten, but it’s a start. The Golden Knights probably still win, but they’re too expensive for my liking. Either way, it should be a low-scoring contest at T-Mobile Arena.