Vancouver Canucks (19-18-4) vs New Jersey Devils (14-16-7)
Where: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
When: 10:00 am PST (!!!)
Where to Watch: SNP, MSG+
SB Nation Opposition Blog: All About The Jersey
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Canucks are coming off another big win with a pretty familiar formula: Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson getting it done offensively, and some lights out goaltending from Jacob Markstrom. They had no business winning that game Saturday night, but it just goes to show, when you have a goaltender that can keep you in games, anything can happen. New Jersey’s an interesting case. After making a trip to the post-season last spring on the back of Taylor Hall’s MVP season, the Devils find themselves trapped in the Eastern Conference basement, tied with Carolina and Philadelphia and a mere point up on the Ottawa Senators for last in the East, and 2 up on Los Angeles for worst overall.
Seems like a slam dunk, right? The Devils are also without the reigning MVP...
But... the Devils, oddly enough are one of the NHL’s best on home ice, with a 10-4-4 record. They’re 5-5-3 for December and have won 3 of their last 4, thanks to rookie goalie Mackenzie Blackwood. His last game was a 2-0 shutout of Carolina. Seems like one of those trap games that the Canucks have fallen into over the years, right? Anyway, we don’t know yet if it’s Blackwood or Keith Kinkaid (they’ll announce it shortly) but here’s their lines from yesterday’s practice:
No lineups changes for #NJDevils in practice today.— Amanda Stein (@amandacstein) December 30, 2018
Please keep in mind, goalies listed in no particular order. Still don’t know who will start tomorrow against the Canucks. pic.twitter.com/ox3IFyxaEp
The New Jersey goalie carousel could use some stability, that’s for sure. It is pretty shocking to see just how far from expectations Cory Schneider has fallen. He was supposed to be the future here in Vancouver, and now sidelined with an abdominal injury, with Blackwood playing well, can we expect the Devils to move on from the guy the Canucks traded away to get the pick that became Bo Horvat?
One of the highlights of this game will be the battle between 2017’s first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft, New Jersey’s Nico Hischier, and the best player taken in that draft, our Lord and Saviour Elias Pettersson. It’s likely that the Canucks go with Anders Nilsson in this one, trying to get him back on track after a disappointing December. The Canucks have lost 7 straight meetings with the Devils.
With a win this morning, and a Montreal win over Dallas later this evening, the Canucks will move into the last Wild Card spot (though the Stars have 2 games in hand). Vancouver is in Montreal Thursday to take on the Canadiens.
Here’s a lil bit of stuff to read with your coffee as you get ready for this one: Patrick Johnston looks back at the Canucks history in New Years Eve games... An interesting piece from our friends over at All About The Jersey on why the Devils shouldn’t be tanking right now... The Game Day Preview over at The Province is up... Nico Hischier says he’s not thinking about Pettersson. Ignoring a problem won’t make it go away, Nico... Ed Willes on why we should be getting excited about Quinn Hughes in a Canucks uniform... A reminder that Team Canada takes on the Russians at 5pm PST to decide who takes top spot in Group A. Russia and Switzerland had a CRAZY game last night, and this one should be no different. We’ll have a game thread for this one, so make sure you join us for that. And if you were up early, you saw a hell of a Spengler Cup final. No, seriously. Both Zach Fucale for Canada and Dennis Godla for KalPa Kuopio put on a goaltending clinic, and it went to 8 shooters before the Finns came away with the victory. Godla was godlike, stopping 39 of 40 Canadian shots through 65 minutes of play. An extremely entertaining game with tons of chances, once again a shame to see a championship decided by a skills competition, but it was enjoyable to watch nonetheless.
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN: Trying to pick a band from New Jersey’s no easy feat. The Garden State’s given bangers an amazing variety of heavy acts over the years: Danzig, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Burnt By The Sun, Monster Magnet, Skid Row and Whiplash among others all call Jersey home. But when I think of NJ Metal, I think of OVERKILL. Enjoy the game, and Happy New Year! Make sure whatever you do tonight, it’s safe and relatively sane, alright? We want you here for Wednesday’s game against Ottawa. Here’s a handful of my favorite Overkill tunes, including a live cover of D.O.A.’s ‘Fuck You’