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PRE-GAME REPORT: Devils at Canucks

Devils wrap up their Western Canadian road trip with a game against the Canucks in Vancouver

by Marc Ciampa / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils wrap up their four-game Western Canadian swing and five-game road trip looking to head home with three wins in their last five road outings. 

You can watch the game on MSG+ or listen on the Devils Hockey Network. 

Video: DEVILS:60 | Devils at Canucks

Read the game preview below, including lineup updates and more.  

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PRE-GAME REPORT

VANCOUVER, BC - Devils head coach John Hynes met with the media a few hours before today's game between New Jersey and Vancouver.

He touched on a variety of topics, including the status of defenseman Sami Vatanen. 

"Vatanen has an upper-body injured and we'll re-evaluate him in a few days," Hynes stated, adding that the defense pairings for today will be: 

Greene - Severson
Butcher - Subban
Mueller - Tennyson

CHANGES UP FRONT

The Devils will be making some moves up front as well. The forward lines will be as follows: 

Hall - Hughes - Palmieri
Zacha - Hischier - Bratt
Coleman - Zajac - Gusev
Wood - Rooney - Simmonds

Rooney comes in and Boqvist is out up front as the only lineup change aside from the line shuffling. Hynes noted that the lineup shuffle was in part to try and spread some offense around after the top line had most of the opportunities against Edmonton. 

"Hischier, Hall and Palmieri were the best line on the ice that night. Those guys were good."

Video: PRE-GAME RAW | John Hynes

BLACKWOOD STARTS

Mackenzie Blackwood will get the start in goal against the Canucks. He's been very successful against the Canucks in his career with a 3-0-0 record, 0.65 goals-against average and .974 save percentage. 

Hynes noted that no matter who is in goal, the team's defensive structure needs to be better. 

"We've said it before. The Calgary game, thje first period was good, we had the lead 2-1 but our defensive structure wasn't good enough, particularly off the rush. That was better in Edmonton," he began. 

"The Edmonton game wasn't a 4-0 game. We had ample opportunities to score goals, they had a breakaway to score, we hit the post. The important thing right now for this game is our attention to detail is strong, our competitiveness is good off the bat. And the last two games we got out Special Teamed also."

-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com

PREVIEW

DEVILS (4-7-4) at CANUCKS (9-5-3)

TV: 4:00 p.m. ET; Televised on MSG+

Head-to-Head:

Tonight's game is the second of two meetings between the two teams this season. 

The two clubs met back on October 19 with the Devils winning 1-0. The lone goal was scored by Jack Hughes (his first career NHL goal) while Mackenzie Blackwood got the shutout. 

Devils team scope:

The Devils have dropped each of their last two games after going 4-1-2 in their last seven prior to that. The club lost 5-2 in Calgary and 4-0 in Edmonton with the game in Edmonton being a better complete effort. 

"I thought we did a good job," said Andy Greene after the game against the Oilers. "They got some deflection and rebound goals there but I thought we did a pretty good job back there. I thought we deserved better in the second but that's on us. We need to continue to improve and get better.

"We've got to stick with it. There's nights where you don't play well and get wins and nights you play well and don't win. It's about sticking to the system and being disciplined."

The Devils right now sit seven points out of either wild card spot or third in the Metropolitan Division.

Canucks team scope:

The Canucks have had a good start to the season and currently sit third in the Pacific Division.

However, they've dropped three straight and four of their last five (1-2-2) including a back-to-back set on the road through Winnipeg and Chicago. 

Elias Pettersson leads the team in scoring with 21 points through 17 games. J.T. Miller has been a great surprise. Acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay in the off-season, he has eight goals and 18 points in 17 games. His previous career high was 22 goals and 56 points set in 2016-17 with the Rangers. 

By the Numbers:

Devils have only won two out of eight games this season when scoring first (2-2-4). By contrast, they've won two of seven when the other team scores first (2-5-0). Vancouver has won five out of six when scoring first (5-1-0). ... Devils have been outscored 21-9 in the third period this season despite outshooting their opponent 142-121 in the final frame. Canucks have outshot opponents 219-156 in the first periods this season but in the third have been outshot 164-162. 

Jack's brother Quinn Hughes has 11 points in 16 games. He is second only to Cale Makar in rookie points by blueliners (Makar has 15). Nobody else in the NHL has more than five. 

Injury Updates:

Devils - Connor Carrick (fractured finger) is out; Sami Vatanen (undisclosed) is questionable

Canucks - Antoine Roussel (torn ACL) is out; Tyler Motte (upper body) is day-to-day; Micheal Ferland (concussion) is on IR

-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com

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