NEWARK, NJ - The Devils return home to play the Anaheim Ducks today, looking to build off a strong performance on Saturday in Arizona which resulted in a win and a strong performance Friday in Colorado that came up short.
The team will be going with the same lineup as those past two games, looking for some consistency:
"We felt good about the effort and game we played. It's good to find that chemistry with certain lines and D pairings. It's always nice to have that consistency," said Devils interim head coach Alain Nasreddine.
With the trade on Monday of Taylor Hall to the Arizona Coyotes, that opens up a great opportunity or multiple opportunities for the club.
"Now that Taylor's gone, a huge piece. Top line left wing, top power play. There's a lot of minutes there for guys to grab," Nasreddine noted.
One of those players is Jesper Bratt, who's now been slotted on the top line alongside Kyle Palmieri and Nico Hischier.
"We're skilled guys who want to be in the O-zone," said Bratt. "It's a new start for the whole team, the organization and everything. We're all excited for this."
Another opportunity comes on the power play top unit.
"On the power play, that's still a work in progress. We'd like more of a shooting mentality," said Nasreddine. "Special teams could certainly be better. We're going to move guys around if they're not producing."
One change the team has been toying with is putting P.K. Subban back on the top unit over in Hall's position on the left side.
"I want him to shoot. He's got that big shot. There should be no hesitation. We started the year, we had him on the top. When the other team sees P.K. on the flank you've got to pay attention," stated Nasreddine. "Our power play is not creating enough. If P.K. gets on the flank, that puck should be on net."
Another roster move the team made is recalling goaltender Gilles Senn from AHL Binghamton. Evan Cormier, who was recalled on Saturday from the ECHL was then assigned to Binghamton to replace Senn.
"I couldn't believe it, I thought it was a joke because Coach Dennehy makes jokes all the time," Senn chuckled when talking about his first career NHL call-up. "I was really excited. Started to pack my stuff right away."
Senn won't play tonight but there's a chance he might this weekend if Louis Domingue isn't ready to start one of the back-to-back games against Chicago or Columbus.
"Maybe it's coming. I also prepare myself but not over-prepare. I do it like I do in Bingo. When the game comes and I'm playing, I'm going to be ready."
As for how his year has been going, Senn said that the large ice and style of game was the biggest adjustment.
"It's really different. Everything. How the players act, the shooting mentality. It's pretty intense. In Switzerland, it's a pretty good league but you have more time. Forwards have more time, goalies. Different angles. Every shot is different."
-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com
DEVILS (10-17-5) vs. DUCKS (14-16-4)
TV: 7:00 p.m. ET; Televised on MSG+
Tonight's game is the first of two meetings between the two teams this season.
Anaheim won both meetings last season, 3-2 in New Jersey and 6-5 in a shootout in Anaheim.
Jesper Bratt (1G-3A) led the Devils in points, tallying four in two games played. Kyle Palmieri (2G) led New Jersey in goals, notching two in the 2018-19 season series.
Devils team scope:
The Devils saw a seven-game winless slide end with a victory last Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes.
On Monday, the team announced that it had traded leading scorer Taylor Hall to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for three prospects and two draft picks, including a 2020 first rounder and additional pick that could become a first rounder if conditions are met.
Kyle Palmieri is now the Devils leading scorer with 20 points (12 goals) through 32 games. Blake Coleman is second on the team with 18 points (9 goals).
Ducks team scope:
The Ducks lost last night by a score of 4-1 in Philadelphia to fall to two games below .500. They are eight points behind Calgary for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Anaheim is 2-4-0 in its last six games with both wins coming in a shootout, over the New York Rangers and Minnesota Wild.
Ducks leading scorer is Ryan Getzalf, who's having a resurgence of a year at age 34 with 10 goals and 25 points in 34 games. Getzlaf had 14 goals all of last season and only 11 the year before that. Last time he had more than 20 goals in a season, which he's on pace for right now, was the 2014-15 season.
By the Numbers:
After their win on Saturday against Arizona, the Devils improved to 3-4-1 against Pacific Division opponents this season.
The Devils and Ducks have both struggled on the power play this season. Devils are second-last in the NHL at 12.8% while Ducks are fourth-last at 14.2%. The Ducks (78.3%) and Devils (77.1%) rank 21st and 22nd in the NHL respectively on the penalty kill.
Devils - Connor Carrick is on IR; Matt Tennyson (upper body) is on IR; Louis Domingue (lower body) is on IR