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Pregame Primer: Game Seventeen – Devils vs. Predators

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New Jersey Devils vs. Nashville Predators, 7 pm

Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey

TV: MSG+  Radio: WFAN 101.9 fm, 660 am

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Dainius Zubrus – Andrei Loktionov – Jaromir Jagr
Steve Bernier – Travis Zajac – Damien Brunner
Mattias Tedenby – Adam Henrique – Michael Ryder
Ryan Carter – Jacob Josefson – Cam Janssen

Andy Greene – Peter Harrold
Anton Volchenkov – Marek Zidlicky 
Eric Gelinas – Adam Larsson

Goaltender: Martin Brodeur

Some thoughts on tonight’s game:

1) Prime opportunity to score some goals.  Top goaltender Pekka Rinne is out for the Predators.  Their other options have been really bad so far this season.  Carter Hutton has posted a 3.32 GAA and .898 save percentage in eight games.  That’s not good.  The Devils need to score at least two goals tonight and honestly, they need to score three or more.

2) Discipline needed.  The Devils can’t afford to take a lot of penalties tonight.  They’re facing a Top-5 power play.  Shea Weber has three power play blasts for goals while the crafty David Legwand has a pair as well.  The Devils fought off several power plays but did get burned once.  It’s frightening to take that many penalties on the road.  Hopefully, things will be cleaned up a bit since the team is back at home.  

3) Marty needs to stay hot.  While it does appear the Devils can rack up some goals tonight, this game will come down to Martin Brodeur.  If he’s sharp as the last few games, the Devils should win the game.  If he allows a bad goal or two, it could be too much to overcome.  If Brodeur gives up one goal or less, the Devils have to win this game.  It appears for the time being the goaltending will have to win them games.  At the very least, the Devils should put up two goals a game.  If they get the goaltending they expect going into the season, even mediocre offensive production every night will win them a good share of games.

Prediction:  Devils 3 Predators 1

I wouldn’t call this a “breakout” game, but three goals sure would feel like an offensive outburst for this team.  They won’t dominate this game but they’ll take advantage of enough opportunities to control and dictate the pace of play.  They’ve strung together two strong performances and the extra-session loss on Friday will only motivate this team to play better tonight.

Enjoy the game, everyone.

NEWS: Predators Claim Bobby Butler

The Devils placed Bobby Butler on waivers Sunday, hoping to sneak him back through to Albany. Unfortunately for New Jersey, he didn’t quite make it there.

Corey Griffin

Obviously, this was always a possibility. It’s probably why they held onto Butler for an extra game instead of waiving him when Ryan Carter was healthy. In situations like this, you want to be extra sure about the player in case you can never get him back. As I’ve said a couple times, I was a fan of Butler’s shot and I thought he had some nice offensive potential. That said, the Devils gave him multiple chances in offensive situations, including long runs on the first power-play unit, and he never really delivered. If he could have finished on just a couple of those chances, he’d likely still be a Devil. Hell, he’d probably be playing 15 minutes a night — but that wasn’t the case. Someone with a shot like Butler’s is always going to get extended looks. That’s just how the league works. But if he doesn’t start finishing those goals, he may end up as one of those perennial AHL/NHL tweener guys. The question now is who the Devils will call up to replace his spot on the roster. Hmmm.

Stat of the Day: Elias is hot against Nashville

In the 15 games Patrik Elias has played against the Nashville Predators he has 5 goals and 10 assists. A point per game, not too shabby. Hopefully he can keep that going tonight against the Predators.