It is looking like another one of those rebuilding years for the New Jersey Devils. With no legit goal scorer or facilitator on the roster, the Devils are going to have to scratch and claw to find goals in 2015-16. There is some young talent there that the Devils are high on, but they are going to need to improve drastically in a small time to make an impact. The Martin Brodeur era is more than done and the Devil are going to need to find a leader to steer the ship back to the top. I don’t foresee that coming to fruition this season in any shape or form. The Devils are staying realistic about expectations as well. To maintain some decency in New Jersey, their defense will have to hold the fort down. While they are good and the highlight of the Devils, they’re going to need a little more. A little more offense to be precise. Actually, a lot more offense to be more accurate. The Devils are infiltrated by a bunch of quality teams in the region, including the Islanders, Rangers, and Penguins. The Devils are really the only one that won’t pose much of a threat to the rest of the NHL. The Devils have started the year off the wrong way with a 0-2 start.
New Jersey welcomes a quality Nashville Predators team to their home on Tuesday night. The Preds for so many years were all defense, yet no offense to take them over the top to make a serious playoff run. They found some offense last season in Peter Laviolette’s first year behind the bench as head coach of the Predators. Nashville was flying for most of the season and held a top spot in all of the NHL. The team finally had an offense to go along with an already stellar defensive core, which ended up equaling a record of 47-25-10. With another season in a new season and more experience, perhaps the Preds will finally cash in on a long playoff run. The talent is there for it to happen. They just can’t fall victim as a team that lights up the regular season and falls in the playoffs so easily, they’re plenty of them out there in the NHL. Let’s make a prediction right now and say the Preds move to the second round and lose in 7 games. As far as tonight goes, read on below to find my pick.
Nashville Predators vs. New Jersey Devils Pick
Well-rounded is one way to sum the Predators up. They were previously a team that was just all about playing suffocating defense and winning games around the margin of 2-1. That was enough to win some games during the regular season, but nothing to put them into another gear. The Preds signed Laviolette for that very reason, to get the offense going and make them a holistic team that isn’t one dimensional. Nashville went from being one of the lowest scoring teams in the NHL to 13th best offense in the NHL. The Predators parlayed that with a top 10 defense into a 47-25-10 season.
As I have stated here, the Devils need to find some offense. The Devils are hoping Adam Henrique or Adam Larsson can be one of those players. Patrick Elias is just about all out of gas and this is more of a victory lap season than one where he can effectively help the team out. The Devils finished 14th in defense last season, while 28th in offense. That doesn’t exactly equate to the best results. New Jersey opted to go in a new direction behind the bench, hiring John Hynes, the previous head coach of the AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I have a similar feeling to this game as I did yesterday in the Lightning/Bruins matchup. Similar price as the Lightning, too. Predators should be able to take business on the east coast against the Devils, a team they are lightyears ahead of at this point in time.
PICK: PREDATORS TO WIN -134