NEWARK, NJ - Coming off a 5-0 road victory against their rivals, the Devils are back to work and focusing on their game against the LA Kings.
"I think we just got to come out with the same compete and the same mindset," said Jack Hughes following morning skate. "You can't really be satisfied with one good game, so I mean, we would like to string a few together here."
Devils Interim Head Coach Alain Nasreddine says the team prepares for games the same way, regardless of their previous outcome.
"You look at the game the same way whether you win or lose," said Nasreddine. "But going into tonight's game, there are things we want to be better at. There's also areas that we were really pleased with from our last game."
"Moving forward we have to stay on our defensive game but also offensively we got to be hungrier, get to the hard areas a little bit more," said Nasreddine. "I really liked our defensive response last game, offensively we have to do more."
Young Guys Stepping Up
With Nico Hischier out, the Devils called up Joey Anderson on February 3rd, and sent Jack Hughes to center the top line.
Although Anderson has only played two games this season for the Devils, he feels he's improving with every game.
"Getting adjusted to the speed is one thing, and then a little different style of play," said Joey Anderson. "I think I'm moving well out there and getting more comfortable every game, so that's been positive to build on."
Devils Interim Head Coach Alain Nasreddine was impressed by the forward's play since he was called up on Monday.
"He's detailed in everything he does," said Nasreddine. "Systematically, he's a guy that's only been here 2 or 3 days, now granted we play the same system down with Binghamton, but he comes up here and his attention to detail is bang on."
"We call him 'Mr. Detail' and that fits him well because he does everything well."
Nasreddine has said he would like to see Hughes create more offensive on the top line with Palmieri and Bratt. Hughes said the transition over to new line mates has been productive as he grows his game.
"It's good. [I'm] playing with two pretty good players so it's been an easy adjustment, hopefully we'll have our best game tonight," said Hughes following morning skate.
Sami Vatanen returned to the ice for morning skate, and although the defenseman will not play against the Kings, Interim Head Coach Alain Nasreddine is confident he will return soon.
"It was nice to see him out there today. He's feeling better, obviously not ready for tonight, but this point in time we're just looking at day-to-day," said Nasreddine.
As for Nico Hischier, the center will remain out for now. Hischier last played against Dallas on February 1st.
"He's working with the medical staff, a little too early to jump on the ice, but he's making good progress. But again we'll see in the next couple of days," said Nasreddine.
Tonight's lines for the Devils game against the LA Kings are below:
Tonight's game is the first of two meetings between the two teams this season.
Last season, the Devils won 6-3 in Los Angeles and the Kings won 5-1 at Prudential Center.
Kyle Palmieri had two goals to lead the Devils while Anze Kopitar had three points (all assists) to lead the Kings.
Devils team scope:
The Devils are coming off one of their most impressive wins of the season, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 5-0 in Philadelphia on Thursday night. It was only Philly's fifth regular season loss at home.
Devils have picked up points in every game they've played since the all-star break (2-0-3).
New Jersey is in a stretch where they're playing six of seven and 10 of 13 on home ice, looking to improve on their home record of 7-9-10.
Kings team scope:
The Kings are having a difficult season with the worst record in the Western Conference by seven points (43 points to Anaheim's 50).
In recent times, they're 2-10-1 in their last 13 games and have dropped each of their last three contests.
Anze Kopitar is their leading scorer with 47 points in 55 games. Kopitar also leads the team with 17 goals. Alex Iafallo has 15 goals and 32 points in 55 games to rank second on the team. He's one point off his career high which was set last season in 82 contests.
By the Numbers:
The Kings are 3-21-1 this season when the opponent scores the first goal and 0-20-1 when trailing after one period.
L.A.'s penalty kill is 27th in the NHL at 74.7% but the Kings take the third-least amount of penalties in the League, averaging 6.9 minutes per game. The Devils, by contrast are 28th at 10.2 minutes per game.
Kings are 3-7-2 against the Metropolitan Division this season while the Devils are 4-4-1 against the Pacific.
Devils are tied for third in the NHL with nine shorthanded goals. Dating back to December 8, the Devils lead the NHL with eight shorthanded markers. The Devils also have the best net PK% in the NHL since that time at 93.7% (goals against minus shorthanded goals for divided by total opportunities).
Devils - Nico Hischier (undisclosed) is day-to-day; Sami Vatanen (undisclosed) is day-to-day