The Dallas Stars don’t get a break, as they leave Ottawa and head to New Jersey for a Tuesday night date with the Devils. The Devils have been one of the most impressive teams out of the gate in 2018-19. They aren’t a team many people give too much credit to, but they flew under the radar to finish with a nice record of 44-29-9 to go to the playoffs. The Devils ran into the Lightning in the first-round, who dispatched them in five games.
There were a lot of steps taken forward by the Devils, though. Taylor Hall broke out of his shell to finally be a go-to player on a roster. Instead of frustration in Edmonton, Hall has found an identity in New Jersey. He has yet to put a puck in the net this season, but he has 3 assists and his team is 3-0-0. If the Devils can produce when Hall isn’t scoring, then they are going to be in fine shape.
Kyle Palmieri has been certainly finding the back of the net. He’s been leading the offence as his stick has stayed hot with 2 goals in each of their last three games. Palmieri has 6 goals in total to go along with a +/- of 2. He had 24 goals a season ago and is well on his way to breaking that mark. In 2015-16 he hit a career-high with 30 goals, which he could very well break as well.
The Stars end their three-game road trip in New Jersey tonight. They played in a close one against the Senators last night. The Stars had a 1-0 lead before the Sens scored with 20 seconds left in the 2nd period. Ottawa netted another goal early in the 3rd to force the Stars to have to make a comeback. It didn’t happen, as the Sens added another goal and finished them off with a 4-1 win. This isn’t the easy turnaround for Dallas, having to fly from Ottawa to New Jersey late Monday evening. There’s been some crazy schedules for some teams to open the season. We’ll see how the Stars handle it tonight. Head below for our free Stars vs. Devils pick.
Dallas Stars vs. N.J. Devils Pick
It was a lackluster effort from the Stars no matter how you look at last night. They hit the net over 30 times, but they struggled to generate quality scoring chances on Craig Andersen. When the pucks don’t land in the back of the net, it’s tough to win games on a team that don’t have the defensive talent to keep up in their own zone. The goal with 20 seconds left in the 2nd period was a killer.
Ben Bishop was left out to dry, but he didn’t have a particularly solid night, with 3 goals allowed on 22 shots. Bishop will get the night off on a back-to-back, which will give way to Anton Khudobin in net. Khudobin spent the last two years in Boston, where he posted GAA’s of 2.56 and 2.64. He’s made one start this season and allowed 3 goals on 25 shots against the Ducks for a 0.88 save percentage.
Khudobin goes from a decent defence in Boston to worse in Dallas. He’s always been an adequate backup goaltender, but would likely struggle as the primary starter. I expect to see his GAA slip some with the Stars as well. Khudobin owns a 0.899 save percentage against the Devils in eight appearances. His numbers fade off on the road compared to at home, as he holds a 2.36 GAA in his home arena compared to 2.59 on the road.
The Devils have been stellar with 4.67 goals scored per game and 1.33 goals allowed to open the season. Kinkaid has been solid in place of Schneider, too. He enters with a 0.949 save percentage and 4 goals allowed through the first three games of the year. In what I believe to one of the most underrated squads in the league, I’d side with the Devils to get the job done against the tired legs of the Stars.