GLENDALE, AZ - The Devils look to put an end to their seven-game slide (0-6-1) but they come into tonight's game against the Arizona Coyotes with a positive vibe after playing an excellent game on Friday against one of the NHL's top teams, the Colorado Avalanche.
"For the most part, everyone showed up last night and we need the same thing tonight," stated Devils interim head coach Alain Nasreddine a few hours before puck drop.
"Since I came in, we talked about the style of play and that's how we want to play game in and game out. Speed and relentless work ethic."
Nasreddine was asked about how crucial a good performance was tonight against the Coyotes.
"The game today is going to dictate a lot of how we assess this road trip. The first game against Nashville, we stayed with it, got down early. Dallas was no good. Yesterday was probably our best game of the year. We need a win. There's no moral victory anymore. There's two points on the line. We've got to go get them today."
Nasreddine also confirmed that Taylor Hall will not play again today, being held out by management for precautionary reasons. This means the lineup will remain the same:
Mackenzie Blackwood gets the start, which was the plan all along. Midway through last night's game, Louis Domingue had to leave and Blackwood played the back half of the game against the Avalanche, stopping all 19 shots he faced in relief.
Nasreddine didn't feel that the Domingue injury would be long term, though the goaltender was placed on injured reserve with the club recalling Evan Cormier from Adirondack (ECHL).
-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com
DEVILS (9-17-5) at COYOTES (19-11-4)
TV: 8:00 p.m. ET; Televised on MSG+
Tonight's game is the second and final meeting between the two teams this season.
They met earlier this season in Newark where Arizona prevailed 5-3. Last season, the Devils won both meetings between the clubs in shootouts.
Devils team scope:
The Devils played a hard-fought game on Friday night but fell 3-1 to the Colorado Avalanche. Minutes before the game, they found out that Taylor Hall would not be playing.
"As soon as I found out, I grabbed the guys right after warmup and told them Hallsy wasn't going to go tonight," said Devils interim head coach Alain Nasreddine. "Management's decision. Guys reacted well. I told them we've got to go out and perform, and I thought the guys came ready to play."
Captain Andy Greene said that he hopes that the team takes what it learned from Friday's game and applies it to Saturday's contest against the Coyotes.
"We have to make sure we know what we did right tonight. How and why. We were a little loose in the second, they pushed hard in the second half of the second. But besides that we played some north hockey and managed the puck."
Mackenzie Blackwood, who will be getting the start tonight in Arizona, agreed with his captain.
"Take tomorrow night as an extension of tonight. Keep rolling into it."
Coyotes team scope:
The Coyotes have found themselves in top spot in the NHL's Pacific Division, two points ahead of Edmonton and Calgary. They've played at a steady pace all season long, winning more than two games in a row only once but losing more than two games in a row only once as well.
They are 12 points ahead of their pace from last season, one where they finished with 86 points just outside the playoff picture. They're also 23 points ahead of their pace from two seasons ago.
Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz are the two leading scorers on the team with 23 points apiece. Darcy Kuemper has been dynamite in goal for the Coyotes with a 1.97 goals-against average and .935 save percentage. Kuemper ranks second in the NHL in both categories.
By the Numbers:
Arizona has been outshot in 21 of their 34 games this season but thanks largely to Kuemper, have a record of 13-5-3 in those games. ... Arizona is the least penalized team in the NHL with only 6.5 minutes per game spent in the box. Devils by contrast are 25th at 9.4 minutes.
The third period is the worst for the Coyotes. They've scored 22 in the final frame and allowed 30. It's their only period where they've allowed more goals than they've scored (33 GF, 23 GA in the first period; 34 GF, 25 GA in the second period).
Devils -Connor Carrick (fractured finger) is on IR; Matt Tennyson (upper body) is out; Louis Domingue (lower body) is questionable
Coyotes - Nik Hjalmarsson (fractured fibula) is on IR; Jason Demers (lower body) is on IR