Preview: New Jersey Devils (9-4-3) @ Los Angeles Kings (8-9-1)
Is everyone awake? It’s early, but the Kings are playing a very exciting matinee game today against the…
Oh. The Devils. The Devils are in town.
The coaching change to John Hynes in 2015 didn’t do much to change the identity of the Devils - they weren’t exactly playing high event hockey under Peter DeBoer, and that hasn’t changed. Dating back to the 2010-11 season, the Devils rank dead last in average shots per game. While they’re trending up this season (to date, they’re sitting at the fifth spot with an average of 31.4 shots, just ahead of the Kings, with 31.3) you still can’t exactly say they’re thrilling, especially with Taylor Hall out. Defenseman Damon Severson, a strong emerging presence on the blue line this season, leads the team in points in Hall’s absence. With three goals, he’s already surpassed last year’s total (1) and is on his way to surpassing his rookie year’s goals output (5).
The Kings likely won’t make any lineup changes after their win against the Oilers, partly because they won and partly because there isn’t anyone left to draw back into the lineup. Anze Kopitar skated on the fifth line during Friday’s practice, so don’t look for him to rejoin the team just yet. While the Oilers gave the Kings several wide open chances to enter the offensive zone, look for the Devils to try to shut that down. The trap game is alive and well and it still lives in New Jersey.
If this is anything other than a 2-1 win, it’ll be a complete surprise.
Projected Line Combinations:
Los Angeles Kings
Pearson - Carter - Toffoli
Brown - Dowd - Setoguchi
King - Lewis - Nolan
Clifford - Shore - Purcell
Forbort - Doughty
Muzzin - Martinez
Gravel - Gilbert
New Jersey Devils
Bennett - Zajac - Parenteau
Zacha - Henrique - Palmieri
Boucher/Pietila - Josefson - Smith-Pelly
Kalinin - Fiddler - Lappin
Greene - Severson
Moore - Quincey
Merrill - Lovejoy
Opposing Preview: All About the Jersey