Out of the blue, each the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils want a win.
Whereas issues are a little bit extra unstable for the Demons, who’re 1-7-1 of their final 9 video games, the Penguins need to finish a two-game shedding streak earlier than Monday’s Winter Traditional at Fenway Park.
However what makes Friday’s sport in Pittsburgh actually necessary is how tight issues are within the Metropolitan Division. There are 5 groups (New Jersey, Washington, Pittsburgh, Islanders and Rangers) separated by two factors within the Metro as we head into the New 12 months.
Friday evening ought to be a playoff sport.
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Devils vs. Penguins Prediction. Penguins -120 (FanDuel:)
Maybe essentially the most disappointing factor for the Devils throughout this slide is that they’ve usually been taking part in first rate hockey. Over the past 9 video games, the Devils are 22-14, 5-for-5, however they’ve scored 23.5 anticipated objectives and given up 19.5 anticipated objectives. In different phrases, the Devils are underperforming by 12 objectives, in keeping with public xG information.
However that does not inform the entire story of what is going on on in New Jersey. You’ll be able to tilt the ice as a lot as you need in a 5-on-5, but when your goalie falters, it will not matter.
Coming into the season, that was the Devils’ greatest concern. There was clearly a number of expertise on this roster, however the goalie regarded rattled. Neither Mackenzie Blackwood nor Vitek Wanecek have proven they’ll fill a profession beginning function simply but, however Wanecek gave the impression to be on his manner after a robust begin to the marketing campaign.
However that is firmly within the rearview mirror now, because the Devils have an .866 save share over their final 9 contests.
To make issues worse, the Devils at the moment are coping with accidents to Ryan Graves and John Marino, who flourished as New Jersey’s second pairing this season. With Marino and Graves out, the Devils introduced up Kevin Bahl, Brendan Smith and Nikita Okhotyuk.
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The dearth of defensive depth and goaltending put a number of stress on the Devils to attain and so they did not reply effectively. New Jersey’s 6.31% capturing share over its final 9 5-on-5 video games is the second-worst within the league over that span.
The Penguins had been 15-3-3 going into the vacation break, and so they got here out of the break in horrible vogue, shedding 5-1 to the Islanders after which blowing a 4-0 lead in an additional time loss to the Purple Wings. . However with New Jersey’s goaltending out of whack and its defensive depth being examined, the Penguins matter as quick favorites on Friday evening.