In the next month, the Nashville Predators only play two teams that are currently out of a playoff spot. Those teams are the Winnipeg Jets and the New Jersey Devils. As the team saw on Tuesday, the Jets have been playing much better hockey under Paul Maurice, which makes them hard to take lightly. The Devils, on the other hand, could easily be in the playoff picture at any moment. The playoff race in the Metro is so tight, sticking coal between the standings points will yield diamonds by the time the first round starts.
|New Jersey Devils||Nashville Predators|
|5-on-5 Close SF/60||25.9||28th||29.6||13th|
|5-on-5 Close SA/60||24.7||1st||27.7||8th|
|5-on-5 Close Save %||.906||28th||.907||26th|
|# of PP's/Gm||2.95||28th||3.05||27th|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.20||13th||3.05||5th|
The New Jersey Devils
Last night, the Devils coughed up a last-minute goal to the Dallas Stars that forced overtime. It didn't seem to matter, though, as Patrik Elias ended the game just 40 seconds into the extra frame. It was his 10th of the season and third in his last three games.
New Jersey is in the middle of the logjam of the Metropolitan division, sitting in sixth place with 57 points, but only one point behind third place Columbus. Most of the teams in the Metro have started playing much better hockey than at the outset of the season, which is making the push for a playoff spot all the more aggressive. No team is really in the dreaded "must win" mode yet, but they certainly can't afford to lose points while the rest of the division stocks them.
Because Corey Schneider started last night,
all signs are pointing to Martin Brodeur manning the net tonight. UPDATE:
Cory Schneider will start vs. Predators— Rich Chere (@Ledger_NJDevils) January 31, 2014
The changing of the goalie guard in New Jersey is certainly on the horizon, and there are even those calling for it to happen immediately. Brodeur is having on of the worst seasons he's ever had, statistically, and questions of whether he's passed his time are certainly warranted. However, he is still one of the best goalies the league has ever seen, and early on the team in front of him wasn't doing him a whole lot of favors.
The Nashville Predators
The swing through western Canada was a disappointing one, to be sure. They lost to the two teams they should have beaten, picking up five of a possible eight points (good, but what's needed now is "great"). Of course, that's pretty on-script for this team this year as they have essentially tread water the entire season. Mediocrity, how boring you are.
Shea Weber was absent from morning skate yesterday, and is officially listed as day-to-day. His availability hasn't been ruled out tonight, so we'll keep you posted on the latest.
Roman Josi has started to turn on the offense recently, scoring nine points in his last eight games. The Swiss Olympian is currently fifth in the league in terms of average ice time, getting 26:05 a night. Weber is the only Predator getting more.
|2013 - Roman Josi||45||7||16||23||-11||14||2||0||1||116||6.0|
Paul Gaustad Playing through Injury
We also want to share this update from the morning skate:
Forgot this amid Weber news: Gaustad is playing thru an injury that keeps him from taking too many face offs, Trotz said. #preds— John Manasso (@jmanasso) January 31, 2014
That's why Gaustad is on right wing. Trotz said he's comfortable w/Sissons in middle. Said he came from a good program (Kelowna). #preds— John Manasso (@jmanasso) January 31, 2014
The greatest trick the Devils ever played was convincing the world that trap hockey was a good idea. Tonight's tilt is finally back at a normal 7:00 p.m. CST on FS-TN.
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