The New Jersey Devils head south to Florida, where they’ll look to build on a 3-2 win over another team from the state, the Lightning. The Devils are coming off a victory over the Panthers on Saturday, which was closer than they probably hoped for. Nevertheless, a win is a win and the Devils moved to 5-2-1 on the season. They were on a three-game skid before ending it right then. Their last loss was to the Predators by a score of 4-3 in overtime.
In both of those games, we were able to cash in, so they ended up being favourable results. There is some good news and some bad news for the Devils and their start. Good news being they are 5-2-1 and that puts them in a decent position to open the season. However, the bad news is that virtually all of their games have been at home. The Devils have only played one game on the road, which came against the Flyers and resulted in a 5-2 loss.
With that in mind, the Devils are going to be on the road for awhile in November. They got a friendly schedule to start, but they’re going to pay for it later on. Tampa is the beginning of a seven-game road trip. Following this trip, they go home to play the Penguins and then it’s back on the road to paly the Flyers. In their next fifteen games, to the end of November, the Devils are only home for four of them. It’s going to be interesting to see what their record looks at the end of the month. We’ll see how real the Devils are. Head below for our free Devils vs. Lightning pick.
N.J. Devils vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick
The Devils did a nice job of taking advantage of their schedule in October by going 5-2-1. Unfortunately, that could quickly turn into 5-5-1 if they don’t watch themselves on the road. They open with a quality Tampa team who has an impressive record of 7-2-1. The Lightning are coming off a 7-1 drubbing against the Arizona Coyotes. No, it wasn’t the Lightning doing the punishing, it was a rare beatdown by the Coyotes on a good team.
It was a nice win for the Coyotes, but the Lightning clearly didn’t show up to play a hockey game. The last game on a five-game road trip probably had something to do with it. Also, the fact that they were playing on a back-to-back following a game in Las Vegas the day before. Tampa also went with backup Louis Domingue instead of starter Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Domingue got rocked, but Vasilevskiy has been off to one of the hottest starts in the league. He and his countryman, Semyon Varlamov, have been looking rock solid in net, in a year where goal scoring has gone up. Varlamov holds a 1.62 GAA for the Avalanche, while Vasilevskiy has been strong as well with a 1.83 GAA and 0.94 save percentage. Cory Schneider will join the team for this seven-game road trip, but Keith Kinkaid has been confirmed as the starter tonight.
Kinkaid has been good in net, as he hopes to improve on a 2.12 GAA and 0.925 save percentage in Tampa. Kinkaid hasn’t been tested on the road, though. In the one appearance he did make, the Devils fell by a score of 5-2 to the Flyers. His career numbers have been much worse on the road, a 2.90 GAA vs a 2.41 GAA at home.
The Bolts have scored an average of 3.6 goals per game at home this season. They’ve dominated the Devils in Tampa, too. The Lightning have gone 7-1 over the Devils in their last eight meetings at Amalie Arena. Overall, Tampa are 4-1 in their last five against the Devils. After getting blasted by the Coyotes, expect a much better effort with Vasilevskiy back between the pipes.