When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 15, 2016
Where: Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida
Tonight in NHL the New Jersey Devils will look to bounce back from a hard fought 2-1 loss to Florida in OT when they invade Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida to battle it out with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are off a nice 6-4 win over Detroit. The Lightning won all three meetings between these teams last year and the home team is 7-3 the last 10 in the series.
Offense Same As Last Year
Last year this was the worst offensive team in the league and they picked up right where they left off by scoring just one goal in their opening loss to the Panthers. The Devils didn’t do a whole lot to upgrade their offense in the offseason and it could be a recurring problem for them all year. They did add P.A Parenteau during the offseason and he scored the lone goal for the Devils in that loss. Last year he had 20 goals for the Maple Leafs. New Jersey was outshot 34-24 in the game and again that was an issue for them last year as they were last in the league in shots taken. New Jersey played a lot of boring hockey last year and this year they may be setting up for more of the same.
The game on most nights will be in the hands of Cory Schneider much like it was last year and he played well in the loss vs the Panthers, stopping 32 of the 34 shots tossed his way. Last year he was 27-25-6 with a nice 2.15 GAA, while vs the Lightning in his career he is 2-2-1 with a 3.15 GAA. Last year New Jersey ranked 30th in the league in scoring at 2.22 gpg, while also ranking 30th in shots taken (24.4 spg) and 9th in power play conversions, converting on 19.9% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they were very strong as they ranked 8th in goals allowed, giving up 2.46 gpg, while also ranking 8th in shots allowed (28.6) and 8th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 17.0% of their chances.
Drouin/ Hedman Lead Lightning Over Red Wings
Many feel that Jonathan Drouin is a star in the making and he had a goal and an assist in the opening 6-4 win over Detroit. Last year Drouin played in just 21 games and had four goals and six assists in those games. He has the tools to be a star and is off to a nice start. Victor Hedman also had a nice start as he posted two assists in the win. Also scoring for the Bolts was Alex Killorn, Cedric Paquette, Brian Boyle, Valtteri Filppula and Tyler Johnson. A complete team effort on offense and getting 36 shots in the game helps as well. This is supposed to be one of the better offenses in the league and so far so good. The Lightning took care of Detroit in five games in last year’s playoffs and picked where they left off vs a Detroit team that just may see their 25-year playoff run come to an end.
Getting the win in the game was Ben Bishop, who stopped 28 of the 32 shots he faced in the game. Last year Bishop was 35-21-4 with a 2.06 GAA, which led the league. He was also 19-11-3 with a 2.06 GAA at home last year, while vs the Devils in his career he is 7-2 with a 1.31 GAA. Last year the Lightning ranked 13th in the league in scoring at 2.73 gpg, while also ranking 19th in shots taken (29.3 spg) and 28th in power play conversions, converting on 15.8% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they were very strong as they ranked 5th in goals allowed, giving up 2.41 gpg, while also ranking 9th in shots allowed (28.9) and 7th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 16.0% of their chances.
New Jersey is:
- 8-22 in their last 30 vs. the Eastern Conference
- 4-12 in their last 16 games playing on one days rest
Tampa Bay is:
- 18-7 in their last 25 when their opponent scores two goals or less in their previous game
- 17-8 in their last 25 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400
Going to take a shot at the Lightning on the puckline here. Cory Schneider has a 3.15 GAA in his career vs the Lightning, while Ben Bishop has a 1.31 in his career vs the Devils. Good numbers there, but they we add in the fact that the Lightning may have the best offense in the Eastern Conference and the Devils have the worst offense in the league and this should be no contest at all. The Devils just won’t have enough offense to keep this one close.