The New Jersey Devils are on a five-game losing streak.
The Carolina Hurricanes are on a five-game winning streak.
This is the first of four meetings between these two teams.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
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New Jersey Devils
21-8-2 (1st in Metropolitan Division)
19-6-6 (1st in Metropolitan Division)
Jack Hughes (36)
Martin Necas (30)
Jack Hughes (16)
Andrei Svechnikov (17)
Jack Hughes (20)
Brent Burns (18)
Ryan Graves (19)
Brady Skjei (11)
Jack Hughes (4.03)
Shots (Per Game)
Martin Necas (3.45)
The New Jersey Devils will travel south to Raleigh to face the Carolina Hurricanes. The Devils have been the surprise of the season and are sitting in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 44 points. They would maintain their lead with a loss but cement it with a win. The Hurricanes are right behind the Devils in the Metropolitan with 40 points. However, they could lose control of the spot with a loss in regulation.
The Devils have a great record but are slumping right now and on a five-game losing streak right now. However, there is plenty of time for them to turn it around. The Devils still have a top-ten offense and top-three defense. If they end the slump soon, there will still be ample opportunity for them to finish the season in a top spot.
The Devils are led by Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier, and Dougie Hamilton. Hughes is only 21 but leads the Devils with 36 points. Bratt is a few years older but has 20 assists. Hischier plays almost 20 minutes a game and has ten goals and 16 assists. Last but not least, we come to defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton plays nearly 22 minutes a game and has 17 assists.
Vitek Vanecek has a firm grasp of the #1 goaltender spot in New Jersey. Vanecek has a 12-3-2 record and only allows 2.37 goals. If he keeps performing at this level, the Devils will have an opportunity to make a run.
The Hurricanes have a worse record than the Devils but are playing significantly better hockey. Carolina is on a five-game winning streak because of their strong defense and goaltending. The Hurricanes’ defense finds itself in the top-five, but their offense is in the bottom-ten. Carolina’s wingers and centers need to step up and score more if they want to make a run.
The Hurricanes have a handful of talented players, but Martin Necas, Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho, and Brent Burns are the best they have. Necas leads the Hurricanes with 30 points, Svechnikov is the goal-scorer of the group and leads Carolina with 17 goals, Aho does a little bit of everything and has 27 points, and Burns is an impressive passer with a team-leading 18 assists.
Pyotr Kochetkov has become the Hurricanes’ starting goalie in Frederik Andersen’s absence. Kochetkov has taken full advantage of the opportunity and only allows 2.01 goals per game. I am not sure how much more time Andersen will miss, but Carolina is in good hands with Kochetkov in net.
Since the Devils are slumping, the Hurricanes will win this one at home. Carolina is much hotter right now, and their momentum will push them to win.
The Devils are the underdogs but will win if they draw penalties and shoot 40+ times.
The Devils have a bottom-half power play unit and convert a little over 20% of the time. Only 17.8% of their goals come with a man advantage. This is a problem for New Jersey and needs to change tonight. The Devils must draw penalties and score a power play goal.
The Devils have only scored 11 times in the previous five games. However, they have had no problem shooting the puck in that time. This is why they need to shoot 40+ times today. If they do, they will likely score three or more goals.
The Hurricanes are the favorites and will win if they score the first goal and involve Andrei Svenchnikov.
The Hurricanes struck first in their last five games. Their recent success has been largely predicated upon them scoring first and setting the tone. Carolina needs to continue to do so today and score as soon as possible.
Andrei Svechnikov has been one of Carolina’s top performers this year. He is a goal-scoring machine that converts almost 18% of his shots. Svechnikov’s teammates must pass to him as much as possible and let him shoot.
Erik Haula usually receives very little attention. However, the winger exceeded expectations in the Devils’ previous game and finished with one goal and one assist.
Haula rarely scores and is not much of a passer, but he has momentum from the last game and must take advantage of it. He needs to play aggressively and look for shots. If he does, he might score another goal.
This was not a surprising choice. Martin Necas is having an excellent season and doing it all. However, he has been quiet over the last five games and only has one goal and one assist.
Necas must return to form tonight and end the night with at least one point. That could be the difference between a win and a loss.
What - New Jersey Devils vs Carolina Hurricanes
Where - PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
When - Tuesday, December 20, 7:00 PM EST
How to Watch - NHLPP, ESPN+
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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