The New Jersey Devils looked like imposters took the ice for them against the Ottawa Senators, as they scored 6 goals in a 6-3 win. Not only did they score 6 goals, but they scored 5 goals in the 1st period alone. For a team that has had an offense on life support lately, the two last games has been a shocker. Note that the Devils beat the Flames 4-2. That means 10 goals in the last ten games for the Devils. Before that, they needed seven games to score 10 goals. Tonight they hit the road up north to Winnipeg, where the Jets will be awaiting. The Devils get to avoid the monster snow storm heading to that area, so they lucked out on the scheduling in that sense. No teams like travelling up to Winnipeg, but getting away from the storm isn’t a bad deal. I try to look for the silver lining in any circumstance, but last night there was no positive I could take from it. The Blues grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 2nd period after an inactive game before late in that period. They threw it away with less than a minute left and the Avalanche won in a shootout. Garbage, nonsense, whatever you want to call it.
We try and forget about those series of events and look to Winnipeg for some better luck. The Devils are riding a three game winning streak entering Winnipeg, a much needed run for the Devils. They have been searching for some offense ever since their leading goal scorer, Mike Camalleri, was sent to the IR. He, however, will be suiting up tonight after a stint on the sideline. I do expect some rust, though. The question here is if the last few games have been a fluke occurrence, or the offense is for real. It’s going to take a much bigger sample size to be able to come to a reasonable conclusion. The Devils have a contender on their hands in net with Connor Hellebuyck of the Jets. Hellebuyck is a young 22 year old, playing in his first year at the NHL level. So far so good for him. He has shown the ability to look like the future for the Jets in net. This has been a good season for him, but let’s see how it progresses. Many goaltenders have been flashes in the pan, never to be heard from again. We’ll see how it goes for Hellebuyck who has played the part this season.
New Jersey Devils vs. Winnipeg Jets NHL Pick
Hellebuyck enters this contest against the Devils with a 2.06 GAA and .930 save percentage. He has unseated Ondrej Pavelec as the better goalie on the roster, but Pavelec has been battling injuries and hasn’t been able to stay healthy at all. It is unfortunate for him, as last season he played well with a 2.28 GAA. However, Hellebuyck has seized the opportunity has made the most of it. I don’t suspect seeing him back in the minors next season. He’ll stay right in Winnipeg.
The Devils’ offense has come to life lately, but a 6-3 win is not a typical game for them. They prefer to win the ugly 2-1 type games. Goaltender Cory Schneider has had a solid campaign with a 2.06 GAA, the same as Hellebuyck. The Devils have allowed 2.31 goals per game this season for 7th in the league. The offense, despite scoring 10 goals in their last two games, is 4th last in the NHL with 2.27 goals scored a game. I think the Devil offense comes down to earth in this one. A long flight to Winnipeg after securing three games in a row looks like a letdown spot for the Devils. There will be some regression back to their average against the Jets tonight. It looks like a good spot for the Jets.
PICK: JETS TO WIN -131