Game Preview: Devils vs Canadiens – Keys, Stats, Fantasy, Prediction

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Game Preview: New Jersey Devils vs Montreal Canadiens (Game 4)

By Santino Fasulo, Staff Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

Montreal Canadiens Erik Cole leaps as New Jersey Devils Martin Brodeur makes save in NHL game in Newark
(Photo by REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

MONTREAL, QC – Only one week into the shortened 2013 season, and the Montreal Canadiens already have a Saturday night off. This surely is not sitting well with fans, but at the same time it will give the Habs some much needed rest heading into a heavier schedule in the coming weeks.

On Sunday night January 27th, the Habs will square off against the unbeaten New Jersey Devils. Head Coach Peter DeBoer‘s squad is off to a 3-0 start and has been playing some excellent defensive hockey. The ageless Martin Brodeur has been lights-out thus far, and they have received quality scoring from their top guns.

The Canadiens meanwhile, have won their last two games in large part to a power-play that is firing on all cylinders. It seems the missing ingredient to the Habs PP success was former all-star defenseman Andrei Markov. After missing the better part of the last two seasons with two separate knee surgeries, Markov seems to have regained his offensive touch from the back end. Coupled with stellar goaltending from Carey Price, the Habs are off to a nice a start.

This figures to be the toughest test for the Canadiens so far this season, as the Devils will be looking to remain undefeated.

Habs keys for the game :

  1. Power-play : The Canadiens will surely want to get their PP going early. If they can capitalize on an early opportunity, this can set the tone for the rest of the game.
  2. Goaltending : This matchup will feature two excellent goaltenders in Carey Price and Martin Brodeur. The outcome of the game can easily come down to which goalie performs better.
  3. Defense : It’s no secret the Habs defense is a weakness without young star P.K. Subban chewing up important minutes. It will be important for Coach Michel Therrien to distribute the minutes in a committee approach and keep his six d-men fresh throughout the contest.

Devils keys for the game :

  1. Team discipline : The Devils will want to try and stay out of the box as much as possible in this contest. The Canadiens currently boast the League’s No. 8 best power-play converting nearly 30 per cent of their chances.
  2. Physical edge : If the Devils can establish a physical edge in this match-up it can surely help them wear down a weaker Montreal defense. They will want to send their wingers forechecking hard all night, hitting, and trying to create turnovers.
  3. Silence the fans : The home crowd in Montreal will play a big factor in the game, so New Jersey will want to get off to a quick start and  silence them as early as possible.

Head to Head Record (last 8 games)

The Devils currently hold an edge in the head to head matchup vs the Canadiens. The Devils are 5-3 in their last eight contests against the Habs.

 

The Numbers

 

teamlogo_devils

(3-0-0)

AT teamlogo_canadiens

(2-1-0)

Power Play % 13.3% (24th) 29.4% (8th)
Penalty Kill % 88.9% (5th) 82.4% (12th)
Goals For P/G
2.67 (17th) 3.00 (T-10th)
Goals Against P/G
1.00 (1st) 1.33 (2nd)
Points Leader Kovalchuk : 4pts Diaz : 5pts
Standings 2nd (East)
6th (East)
Who’s Hot Kovalchuk, Brodeur, Clarkson Markov, Diaz, Price
Who’s Not Zubrus, Greene Eller, Desharnais, Cole

.

Key Injuries

Devils :

  • Adam Henrique – Torn ligament in left thumb – IR

Habs :

  • Petteri Nokelainen – Shoulder – IR

Lineups

Watch for our GameDay article for Devils and Habs lineups.

Fantasy Analysis

markov_andrei_goal
(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

From a fantasy perspective, here are some players from each side that could help you in this matchup.

  • Max Pacioretty (Montreal Canadiens): Habs winger has 4 assists in 3 games this season and will be looking for his first goal.
  • Andrei Markov (Montreal Canadiens): Leads all NHL defensemen with 3 power-play goals.
  • Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens): Always a key part of any Habs game. Has a 1.34 GAA and .953 SV% in first 3 games.
  • Ilya Kovalchuk (New Jersey Devils): Has 4 points and is a plus-5 in his first 3 games this season.
  • Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils): Tied for NHL lead in wins with three and shutouts with one.

Writer’s Prediction

The Montreal Canadiens win 3-2.