New Jersey Devils vs Chicago Blackhawks: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: United Center – Chicago, IL.

When: Thursday, February 14, 8:30PM EST.

How (TV/Radio): WGN, MS+2 | WFAN.

New Jersey Devils (Away)

Head Coach: John Hynes {All-Time 131-131-39 NJD}

Even though he still isn’t skating, coach John Hynes still plans on Taylor Hall returning to the lineup before the season’s end – it just won’t be for this game. Hall will sit another one out along with d-man Sami Vatanen when their team faces the Chicago Blackhawks.

In an attempt to fill in at least one of those injury gaps, the Devils claimed forward Kenny Agostino off of waivers from the Montreal Canadiens. Agostino, a New Jersey native, has played in 36 games so far this season, all with the Habs, and has registered two goals and nine assists.

Examining the numbers, the Devils rank below the Blackhawks in almost every crucial offensive stat, including goals for, powerplay success, and faceoff wins. However, they do average more shots per game than their opponents. It’s on the defensive end where New Jersey should find some success as they allow fewer goals and fewer shots than Chicago.

Keith Kinkaid should get the start in net for the Devils. Kinkaid is 15-16-6 this season. His goals against average is at 3.15 and he has a save percentage of .898. Kinkaid has three shutout so far this season.

Chicago Blackhawks (Home)

Head Coach: Jeremy Colliton {All-Time 17-18-6 CHI}

At the time of writing, the Chicago Blackhawks are unbeaten in their last seven games and have gone 7-2-1 in their last ten. They head into Chicago knowing they score more goals, win more faceoffs, and have more success on the powerplay than their opponents. They also take less penalties.

A large advantage here is geography. Chicago hasn’t necessarily played their best hockey this season in their home arena, but their opponents have definitely played their worst on the road. The New Jersey Devils are 7-17-3 when out of town this season. Chicago is currently 12-10-6 at the United Center.

Although goaltender Corey Crawford said he felt “great” and was “back to normal” in a recent interview, it is expected that back-up Collin Delia will get the start against New Jersey. Delia is 6-2-3 on the season with a 2.98 goals against average and a .923 save percentage.

One final interesting note is that Thursday night’s game is set to be forward Chris Kunitz’s 1,000th career game.

These two teams last met one month ago on January 14 at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. The high-scoring affair was won by the Devils with a score of 8-5.

What’s At Stake?

Not much is at stake here. Although there are mathematically enough games left for these teams to make the playoffs, a lot of better teams would also have to keep losing. This game comes down to bragging rights, as these teams are also in entirely different conferences. Chicago has stepped their play up as of late so, if anyone could benefit more from the two points that come along with a victory, than it’s the Blackhawks.

Questions to answer

Can the Blackhawks continue to build on this late-season surge?

Will the addition of Kenny Agostino to New Jersey’s roster play any form of pivotal role in the on-ice performance of the team or will he go largely unnoticed?

Will New Jersey continue to sink on the road?

New Jersey Injury Report

F Miles Wood – IR (arm).

D Sami Vatanen – IR (concussion).

F Stefan Noesen – IR (lower-body).

F Taylor Hall – IR (lower-body).

Chicago Blackhawks Injury Report

F David Kampf – day-to-day (foot).

G Corey Crawford – IR (concussion).

New Jersey Devils at Chicago Blackhawks Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Oklahoma City Thunder favoured over the New Orleans Pelicans by 4.5, with an over/under of 110.