The New Jersey Devils continue their road trip on Thursday, as they fly from Detroit to San Jose for stop No. 2 on their five-game road trip. They will be in action on Saturday night against the LA Kings following their date with the Sharks tonight. The Devils sold some more at the trade deadline after sending Taylor Hall to Arizona in December.
That was the deal that got the ball rolling for the Devils. They were waving the white flag by sending Hall out to the desert. Meanwhile, Wayne Simmonds was the next big domino to fall in Newark. Simmonds was dealt to the Buffalo Sabres for 2021 fifth-round pick. The Sabres didn’t have to give up much for Simmonds, but the trade doesn’t make much sense.
The Devils have been one of the most disappointing teams, if not the most disappointing team in the NHL this year. They head into Thursday with a lacklustre record of 25-27-10 and 60 points. That’s not what the Devils had in mind when they signed Simmonds and P.K. Subban. There were some rumours regarding Subban getting moved, but he ultimately remained with the Devils.
In the offseason the Devils will have to go back to the drawing board and hope to find a way to get Subban involved more next season. Subban will not be a free agent until 2022-23, so the Devils might as well find a way to get more out of him. If his play continues to deteriorate, the Devils are going to be in a hard spot with his contract, but they must feel confident enough in him to get going next year.
The Sharks are another team that has had a disappointing campaign in 2019-20. They are just one year removed from going to the Western Conference Final. As we look at where they are now at 26-33-4, it feels so long ago. Joe Pavelski left to sign in Dallas, but I don’t believe anyone envisioned the Sharks tanking this badly.
From two wins away to going to the Stanley Cup Final to second last in the conference. They’ve been dealing with injuries throughout the season, though they’ve looked out of sorts even when healthy. With Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture, and Erik Karlsson were all on the ice together at one point thi season, and the results weren’t impressive either. Couture is back on the ice, but Hertl and Karlsson are done for the year. Head below for our free Devils vs. Sharks pick.
N.J. Devils vs. San Jose Sharks Betting Odds:
Devils vs. Sharks Prediction:
There hasn’t been too many positives to take from this season for the Devils, but at least Mackenzie Blackwood has come around. The poor defence and goaltending early in the season was a contributing factor to the hole they got into. Blackwood has managed to settle in and get on track, though. The 23-year-old has certainly earned the right to be the starting goaltender for the Devils next season.
There doesn’t appear to be much controversy. Blackwood has a 2.73 GAA and 0.916 save percentage, which doesn’t look spectacular, but keep in mind that his GAA was north of 3.00 before. He has allowed 2 or fewer goals in five of his last six outings, including two shutouts against the Flyers and Kings.
The effort defensively as a group has been much improved for the Devils. In their last ten games, the Devils have allowed 2.1 goals per game. The most impressive showing in that stretch was a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Saturday. Ovechkin recorded the 700th goal of his career in that one, but the Devils ended up winning the game. If the Devils can etch out an identity as a defensive team that grinds out wins, then that’d be perfectly fine.
There hasn’t been an identity with this team at all. It’s been a little bit of this and a little of that. They haven’t had too much success offensively, having scored 2.69 goals per game for 23rd in the league. However, if they could develop into a physical, hard-nosed defensive team, then that would be good enough to win plenty of games. The Stars are 24th in scoring and are making out just fine in the Central Division.
Offensive production for the Devils drops to 2.43 goals per game on the road. If the defence travels to San Jose, though, they should be okay against a Sharks team who’ve struggled to score. The Sharks are 29th in the NHL with 2.52 goals notched per contest, along with 2.5 goals per game in their previous ten outings. They’ve scored 2 or fewer goals in four straight games. The last time they scored more than 3 goals in a game was way back on February 6 against the Oilers. The final score should add up to 3-2, so there appears to be some value on the UNDER at 6.