Game Day Preview: Jets @ Devils
When: Sunday, March 10, 2013
Time: 6:00 p.m. CST
Where: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
Records: Winnipeg Jets (12-11-1 – 9th in East), New Jersey Devils (11-9-5 – 7th in East)
Television/Radio: MSG-PLUS, TSN-JETS/ TSN 1290
The Story: The Winnipeg Jets wrap up their four game road trip tonight in the Brick City against the New Jersey Devils looking to win their third game in a row and looking to continue their ascension up the Eastern Conference standings.
The Jets defeated the Florida Panthers 3-2 in overtime on Friday night thanks to a jaw-dropping goal from Dustin Byfuglien and now face a New Jersey team that has only won two of their last 10 games.
New Jersey lost 5-3 to the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday night and are struggling without the services of future Hall of Fame netminder Martin Brodeur, who has not played since February 21st. Backup goaltender Johan Hedberg has stepped in to replace Brodeur but he has struggled, and was pulled from last night’s game in place of Jeff Frazee, who made his NHL debut last night.
To say New Jersey is struggling to score goals would be a huge understatement. The Devils are currently ranked 23rd in the NHL with an average of 2.44 goals per game, simply not good enough to compete with most teams on nightly basis. Aside from $100 million man Ilya Kovalchuk and Czech sensation Patrik Elias, New Jersey hasn’t received much help in the goal scoring department. Winnipeg’s Travis Zajac (7 points in 25 games) has struggled so far this year to find his scoring touch and David Clarkson, who started strong early this season, has also struggled as of late to provide New Jersey with much offense.
On the injury front, Devils Captain and Manitoba native Bryce Salvador is not expected to play tonight as he suffered an upper body injury in a game against Buffalo Thursday night. Adam Larsson will take Salvador’s place in the line-up.
There will be one line-up change tonight for the Winnipeg Jets. Derek Meech will make his season debut tonight in place of Paul Postma. Meech has 3 goals and 20 assists in 46 games this year for the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League.
This is the third and final meeting between the Devils and Jets this year. The Jets have defeated the Devils twice this year, 4-2 back on January 24th and 3-1 on January 28th. The Jets have an opportunity for the season series sweep tonight, something they failed to do against any Eastern Conference opponent last year.
Ondrej Pavelec is expected to get the start in goal for the Winnipeg Jets.
Follow @IllegalCurve on Twitter leading up to today’s game.
Projected Jets line combinations (subject to change before game time):
1st: Andrew Ladd- Bryan Little- Blake Wheeler
2nd: Evander Kane-Nikolai Antropov- Alexander Burmistrov
3rd: James Wright– Olli Jokinen- Antti Miettinen
4th: Eric Tangradi- Jim Slater – Kyle Wellwood
Ron Hainsey- Zach Bogosian
Dustin Byfuglien- Grant Clitsome
Derek Meech- Mark Stuart
New Jersey Devils: Patrik Elias (8 goals, 17 assists, 25 points), Ilya Kovalchuk (9 goals, 13 assists, 22 points), David Clarkson (10 goals, 8 assists, 18 points).
Winnipeg Jets: Andrew Ladd (13 goals, 11 assists, 24 points), Blake Wheeler (8 goals, 11 assists, 19 points) Evander Kane (9 goals, 9 assists, 18 points).
New Jersey Devils: Bryce Salvador (upper body), Henrik Tallinder (lower body), Martin Brodeur (back), Mattias Tedenby (face), Dainius Zubrus (wrist)
Winnipeg Jets: Tobias Enstrom (shoulder), Zach Redmond (leg)
Who’s Next: The Jets return home for two games. The Jets play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, March 12th (7:00 p.m. CST), followed by a game against the New York Rangers on Thursday, March 14th (7:00 p.m. CST).
QUICKIE….. The Winnipeg Jets announced today they have acquired forward Tomas Kubalik from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Spencer Machacek.