In a rare cross-conference matchup tonight in Winnipeg, it’s the New Jersey Devils and Winnipeg Jets with both teams looking to turn around their losing ways.
The Devils have dropped four of five and seven of nine entering this one and will look to rebound after a 5-2 loss just last night in Minnesota while the Jets are losers of six of their last seven and will hope some home cookin’ can turn the tide against a tired Devils team tonight.
Something has to give tonight in northern Manitoba so let’s dial into a Devils vs. Jets NHL Pick from Winnipeg!
Devils vs. Jets Betting Odds
*Odds courtesy of BetOnline
|Devils||+170||+1.5 (-147)||Over 5.5 (-116)|
|Jets||-189||-1.5 (+127)||Under 5.5 (+105)|
Offense and Defense
Not much was expected from this Devils offense this season as it remains a youthful movement in Jersey, although they’ve hung tough and have exceeded my expectations if only by a small margin.
The Jersey offense enters this one ranked 18th with 2.86 goals per game on the season, but it’s been the even-strength offense doing the heavy lifting. They also rather surprisingly sit fourth in terms of high-danger chances for/60 and ninth in expected goals for/60 at 5v5 on the season. Their 2.51 goals/60 at 5v5 on the campaign is pretty much right in line with their 2.45 expected mark, as per Natural Stat Trick, so there hasn’t been anything wrong with this even-strength offense.
There’s been something wrong of late, at least in terms of finishing, as the Devils have scored precisely two goals in four of their last five games with a five-goal outburst mixed in three games back against the spiralling Flyers. Over their last 10 games, the Devils have averaged 2.80 goals per game, so they’ve been right on par with their season-long number in that time, but in the most recent history they’ve scuffled to find twine.
The defense is actually a similar story. The surface results are subpar but the underlying data is encouraging, at least in terms of preventing high-danger chances.
The Devils sit 21st in overall defense while allowing 3.10 goals per game on the season, and while they sit 12th in high-danger chances against/60 they also sit 22nd in expected goals against/60 at 5v5. Their 2.51 goals against/60 at 5v5 is once again right in line with their 2.44 expected mark, so the team has deserved its 5v5 defensive fate so far.
They Devils have not only allowed five goals in back-to-back games now they’ve also surrendered an average of 3.89 goals per game over their last nine, so the defense has been on the downslope over the last little while.
It’s actually shocking just how dry this Jets offense has gotten of late.
Once well within the top-10 on offense, the Jets have absolutely fallen off a cliff at the offensive end of the rink, currently sitting 24th while averaging just 2.68 goals per game. This is usually the part where I say their home offense is far superior to their road offense, but the team has scored once over their last two home games and were shutout 1-0 by the lowly Arizona Coyotes at home their last time out.
That being said, you wonder how long the dry spell can last. After all, they sit 10th in high-danger chances for/60 and sixth in expected goals for/60 at 5v5 on the season while their 2.19 goals/60 at 5v5 sits below their 2.53 expected mark, so it’s obviously only a matter of time before this talented offense gets going.
The defense has actually been solid of late but they haven’t been winning without any goal support.
The Jets sit eighth with 2.68 goals against per game on the season and they’ve cleaned up their porous ways in the process. They’ve moved up to 16th in high-danger chances against/60 and sit 14th in expected goals against/60 at 5v5, and while those might not be the best figures in the league, remember this Jets team was among the very worst in those departments a season ago.
The Jets have allowed three goals or fewer in six of their last seven games and have gone on to lose six times in that span. They were pounded 7-1 in Minnesota last Friday, but have allowed an average of 2.33 goals per game in their other six games over their last seven and have dropped five of them.
When you outshoot Arizona 46-15 on home ice and lose 1-0, things just aren’t going your way.
After Mackenzie Blackwood took the loss in Minnesota last night, look for veteran Jonathan Bernier to get the starting nod in this one tonight.
The well-traveled Bernier is enjoying another solid season, this time with the Devils as he’s worked to a 2.55 GAA and .914 Sv% in nine games (seven starts), going 4-3-1 in the process. Hockey Reference calculates his goals saved above average (GSAA) at 0.24 which ranks him 31st among qualified netminders.
It’s a small sample, but he’s been stellar on the road this season where he’s turned in a 2.27 GAA and .922 Sv% across six appearances, although two of his last three appearances have been of the relief variety with his last outing resulting in 27 saves on 30 shots in a losing effort in Nashville on Nov. 26.
It’s not a confirmation, but Daily Faceoff has Connor Hellebuyck listed as the likely starter tonight for the home side which makes sense as the Jets are not in a back-to-back situation in this one, unlike their opponent.
To put it lightly, the Devils’ offense is in for a tough task tonight against a red-hot Hellebuyck. While he owns a 2.60 GAA and .918 Sv% to go along with a 2.62 GSAA that sits 19th among qualified goalies, that does not begin to tell the story.
After a tough October, Hellebuyck rebounded to the tune of a 2.00 GAA and .934 Sv% across 10 games in the month of November. He allowed two goals or less in nine of those 10 starts and has put forth a 1.86 GAA and .938 Sv% across eight home games on the season.
"I'll take that." – Connor Hellebuyck, probably. pic.twitter.com/kEeFiuZcCA
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 19, 2021
Since his lone stinker in quite some time in Minnesota a week ago, he’s rebounded with a .941 Sv% in allowing just three goals over his last two games, so a white-hot Hellebuyck presents a monster challenge for these Devils tonight.
The Devils’ special teams are not living up to their moniker this season.
In short, the power play has been horrendous. The Devils sit 31st with an 11.9% clip on the man advantage this season and have gone 0 for 18 over their last seven games. Only the rival Islanders have been worse on the man advantage this season.
The penalty kill hasn’t been nearly the Achilles’ heel the power play has been, but it’s been subpar. Like their overall defense, the Devils sit 21st on the PK with a mark of 80.6%, but they’ve been better of late in going 15 for 16 (93.8%) over their last five games and have surrendered a power-play goal in just two of their last eight games.
The Jets’ power play is among the game’s best when on, but it’s off at the moment.
They sit 22nd with a 16.9% clip on the man advantage this season, although it should be noted that they remain 12th with a 22.6% clip at home. Nonetheless, they’re now just 1 for 23 (4.3%) over their last seven games and went a devastating 0 for 6 against a bottom-five penalty kill in the Coyotes on Monday.
That being said, the power play has not been as bad as the penalty kill. Only the Vancouver Canucks have posted a worse PK than the Jets this season who sport a 68.9% mark and they can’t seem to find a way out of it.
The Jets are 12 for 14 (85.7%) over their last five games, but also 17 for 23 (73.9%) over their last eight. It’s an improvement, but this remains an area that needs to be addressed for Paul Maurice’s club.
- Devils are 2-6 in their last eight playing on 0 days rest
- Devils are 0-4 in their last four vs. the Western Conference
- Over is 4-0 in the Devils’ last four overall
- Over is 4-1 in the Devils’ last five road games
- Jets are 4-12 in their last 16 vs. the Eastern Conference
- Jets are 5-16 in their last 21 vs. the Metropolitan Division
- Under is 6-1-1 in the Jets’ last eight home games
- Under is 9-3-1 in the Jets’ last 13 overall
Head to Head
- Jets are 7-1 in the last eight meetings
- Jets are 6-2 in the last eight meetings in Winnipeg
- Over is 5-2-1 in the last eight meetings
- Under is 6-2-1 in the last nine meetings in Winnipeg
Devils vs. Jets NHL Pick
It’s a quick turnaround for a Devils team that surrendered five regulation goals to the Minnesota Wild last night, although that Wild team can score despite a general lack of star talent up front.
The offense hasn’t been great of late, but the defense is struggling at the moment despite solid input from the penalty kill. That said, the underlying data on defense remains solid at least in terms of giving up high-danger scoring chances and Bernier has been solid between the pipes.
We know this Jets offense is going to breakout at some point, but obviously we don’t know when. The underlying data is strong and the personnel up front is extremely talented. That’s before we consider just how lights out Hellebuyck has been of late and he’s been absolutely sensational at home this season.
So, where to go? With -189 moneyline odds I expected the Jets’ 3-way moneyline (win in regulation) odds to be somewhere around -140 or -145. I am pleased to see these odds coming in at -120, so I like the Jets in regulation here.
They’re simply a far better offensive team at home than on the road, Hellebuyck is a monster right now and the Devils are not playing good hockey on either side of the puck of late. Let’s also keep in mind the Jets put 46 shots on Arizona and surrendered just 15. Sure, it’s the Coyotes, but that’s a beatdown but they just couldn’t finish.
It’s going to come, and soon. Give me the Jets to win this one on the 3-way moneyline tonight at what I believe are attractive odds.