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New Jersey Devils
31-12-4 (2nd in Metropolitan Division)
28-13-9 (1st in Central Division)
Jack Hughes (60)
Jason Robertson (66)
Jack Hughes (30)
Jason Robertson (33)
Jack Hughes (30)
Jason Robertson (33)
Ryan Graves (28)
Joe Pavelski (32)
Jack Hughes (4.49)
Shots (Per Game)
Jason Robertson (3.97)
The New Jersey Devils will travel south to face the Dallas Stars for the second time this season. The Stars crushed the Devils 4-1 in their first game on December 13. Stars backup goaltender Scott Wedgewood put on a show, saved 35 of 36 shots, and earned the first star.
The Devils are in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 66 points. However, they could move into first place with a win and Carolina Hurricanes' loss. Their opponents, the Stars, are in first place in the Central Division with a Western Conference-leading 64 points. However, they could fall into second place with a loss and Winnipeg Jets victory.
The Devils have a top ten offense and average nearly 3.5 goals per game. They have a handful of offensively talented players that have been imperative to their success this season. Defensively, they are even better and in the top five. It is also worth noting that the Devils have an excellent goaltender in Vitek Vanecek.
The Devils have four players (Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier, Dougie Hamilton) with 45 points or more. Hughes is the star in this group, but the other three are all serious contributors to this Devils’ team.
Vitek Vanecek has become a brick wall in net for the Devils. Vanecek’s 20 wins are the seventh-most in the NHL and his 2.3 goals allowed average is the sixth-lowest in the league.
The Stars have a killer in Jason Robertson and possess the NHL’s seventh-best offense. Their offense is right below the Devils’ offense. On the defensive side, they are excellent and allow a measly 2.6 goals per game. Their defense is often aided by goaltender Jake Oettinger. I will go into Oettinger’s numbers below, but I will say this now. Oettinger has become a top three goalie in the NHL.
The Stars are led by Jason Robertson, but Joe Pavelski, Roope Hintz, and Jamie Benn also star in their roles. Each player has at least 14 goals, 24 assists, and 43 points.
Jake Oettinger is very often the Stars’ savior. The netminder has four shutouts this season and an impressive .924 save percentage. If he stays healthy, Dallas will be in good shape.
The Devils are playing a game the night before and lost to the Stars earlier in the season, so I expect them to lose again today. Bet on Dallas.
The Devils are the underdogs but will win if they score first and shoot a lot.
The Devils are playing against the Nashville Predators the night before and will not be well-rested heading into this game. In addition, they will have the disadvantage of playing on the road. New Jersey needs to turn the odds more in their favor and can do so if they score first.
The Devils average nearly 3.5 goals per game on 34.4 shots. However, they may not have their typical success today, as they face a Stars team with Jake Oettinger in net. Oettinger is a top five-netminder and has the third-highest save percentage in the NHL (.924). New Jersey may need to shoot even more than normal against Oettinger and hope he makes a mistake.
The Stars are the favorites but can improve their odds by drawing penalties and playing tough defense.
The Stars have the NHL’ fifth-best power play unit and convert nearly 26% of their opportunities. However, they did not score in their previous game. The Dallas power play unit must return to form in this game and put one in the back of the net.
The Stars have a strong offense, but the Devils have an even stronger one. They are underperforming as of their last couple of games but can easily return to form tonight. The Stars’ defensemen must prepare for the Devils to play at a high level and respond with aggressive and tough play.
Dougie Hamilton is more known for his defense but also produces on the offensive end. Hamilton has 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists) and is especially productive on the power play. The defenseman has five power play goals and a team-leading 15 assists.
Hamilton is coming off a two-goal game against the Vegas Golden Knights that earned him the first star. He must continue his strong play (on both sides) against this tough Stars squad.
You could pick Jason Robertson as a key player for any Stars game, but the Stars are coming off two straight overtime losses and could use Robertson’s magic more than ever. Robertson scored one goal each in both games, but he needs to have a better all-around game. If he does, the Stars’ offense will be firing on all cylinders.
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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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