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PRE-GAME REPORT: Devils at Flames

Devils road trip continues with the first of back-to-back games in Alberta

by Marc Ciampa / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils continue their Western Canadian trip with a game against the Calgary Flames.

You can watch the game on MSG+ 2 and listen on the Devils Hockey Network. 

Video: DEVILS:60 | Devils at Flames

Read the game preview below. 

INSIDE THE DEVILS

Devils news and notes from the past few days. 

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE DEVILS BLOG

PRE-GAME REPORT

CALGARY, AB - The Devils continue their road swing through Western Canada and after a 2-1 shootout win over Winnipeg, the team will be going with the same lineup tonight, including Mackenzie Blackwood in goal. 

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

Severson-Subban
Greene-Vatanen
Butcher-Tennyson

In their last seven games, the Devils have picked up at least a point in six contests with a 4-1-2 record. Coach Hynes was asked about having the team stay positive during what was a tough stretch earlier in the year when the club went winless in its first six (0-4-2). 

 "It's on really everyone in the room," Hynes began. "It's something that we've talked about when we were going through a tough stretch that you got to be better.

"You have to get better through adversity, block the outside doors if it's negative and when things go well for you, you have to get better and continue to grow your game."

Wayne Simmonds agreed with his head coach. 

"You've got to stay even keel. That's the most important. Honestly, when we were losing those games I don't think we got down too low. We just learned from our mistakes and now that we've won a couple you can't let your head swell," Simmonds stated. "We need to make sure that we're doing things the right away and realize that there's always things that we can improve on."

Hynes said that adding veteran voices like Simmonds to the room has helped. 

"Our older guys have that demeanor and understand," Hynes said of Simmonds and Subban. "That helps sometimes with the younger guys if things aren't going well that it's not the end of the earth. And when things go really well that you have to make sure that is your process right."

ZAJAC'S IMPORTANCE

Another veteran player, one who has been with the Devils for now 935 games, which is good enough for fifth all-time in franchise history,  is Travis Zajac. Hynes was asked about the importance of Zajac to the team.

"Travis is such a great pro and when you look at how he plays the game, the responsibility that he plays with in the middle, he's a guy that can check other teams' lines. You can put two high-end wingers with them. When you look throughout his career, he's done a really good job of that. He's excellent on face-offs so he's a guy that can help you lighten the load at times."

Hynes added that Zajac is also an important factor off the ice. 

"His presence," he said. "Helping guys on face-offs, with little things in the game and you hav ea guy that you can show clips of to your younger players that is directly on your team how he goes about his business on a regular basis."

-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com

PREVIEW

DEVILS (4-5-4) at FLAMES (9-7-2)

TV: 9:00 p.m. ET; Televised on MSG+ 2

Head-to-Head:

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

Last season, the Flames won both games between the two clubs. Blake Coleman led the Devils in scoring, registering two points (1G, 1A). Kyle Palmieri, Kevin Rooney and Travis Zajac scored for New Jersey. Johnny Gaudreau led Calgary in points, with eight (5G, 3A) in two games played.
 
Mackenzie Blackwood saw 117 minutes of action, allowing 11 goals posting a 0-2-0 record against the Flames. David Rittich allowed five goals in 120 minutes of play posting a 2.50 GAA.
 
The Devils are 1-2-1 at Scotiabank Saddledome and 2-4-2 overall against the Flames since the 2015-16 season.

Devils team scope:

The Devils have quietly put together a good stretch of games. Now with only one regulation loss dating back to October 15, they are 4-1-3 in that eight-game period. 

New Jersey comes into tonight's game having won each of the first two games on this five-game trip. They defeated Carolina 5-3 last Saturday and won on Tuesday night in Winnipeg by a score of 2-1. 

Taylor Hall leads the Devils in scoring with 13 points in 13 games. Mackenzie Blackwood has a 2.91 goals-against average and 4-2-3 record in 9 appearances. 

Flames team scope:

The Flames have struggled to regain their form of last season when they had the second-best record in the NHL and were tops in the Western Conference. Through the first six games, they were 2-3-1 and had a busy month of October with 15 games. By contrast, the Devils only had 10. 

Recently, the Flames have started to pick it up with wins in three of their last four and having picked up at least a point in five of their last six. They sit with 20 points in the eighth and last playoff spot in the West. 

Matthew Tkachuk leads the Flames in scoring with 18 points in 18 games. Elias Lindholm has 10 goals to top the club in that category. 

By the Numbers:

Tonight begins the fourth of 16 Devils back-to-back games this year. So far, the Devils are 0-1-2 in the first game and 1-1-1 in the second game of back-to-backs. 

New Jersey native Johnny Gaudreau has 18 points in 10 career games against the Devils. Calgary native Taylor Hall has 28 points in 29 career games against the Flames. 

Devils have had the lead in every game they've played this season with the exception of three road games in Buffalo, Philadelphia and Boston. Flames have trailed after two periods in 10 of their 18 games (3-6-1 record in those games).

Injury Updates:

Devils - Connor Carrick (upper body) is out

Flames - Jussi Valimaki (torn ACL) is on IR; Austin Czarnik (lower body) is on IR

-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com

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