Detroit Red Wings vs. New Jersey Devils - 12/31/14 NHL Pick, Odds, and Prediction
New Jersey Devils (13-18-7) at Detroit Red Wings (19-9-9)
NHL Hockey: Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at 7:30 pm (Joe Louis Arena)
The Line: Detroit Red Wings -188 / New Jersey Devils +169 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
In their second game together behind the New Jersey Devils bench the three headed triumvirate of general manager Lou Lamiorello, Scott Stevens, and Adam Oates secured their first victory. Not only was it a win for the Devils, a rare occurrence for this hockey club over the past month, but it was arguably one of the better games this hockey club has played all season. Hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Prudential Center on Monday night, things didn’t quite get off to the start that the Devils were hoping for. Sidney Crosby’s rush through the neutral zone and nifty moves that resulted in a backhander that sailed by Cory Schneider gave the Penguins a 1-0 first period lead. New Jersey managed just seven shots in the opening frame and failed to score once again, something that has been a theme for this club all year. The Devils would draw a power play early in the second period and Travis Zajac would convert his fifth goal of the season to even the score at 1-1. Zajac’s goal came just over two minutes after a Jordin Tootoo fighting major and ironically enough the same thing would occur later in the period. Tootoo would take on his second combatant on the night and was charged with his second fighting major and just over two minutes later it was Jaromir Jagr with his sixth goal of the season to give New Jersey the lead. Adam Henrique would add a third period goal as the Devils would hold on for the 3-1 win. The Devils have looked slightly more aggressive in the two games since head coach Peter Deboer was let go. Sometimes a coaching change can help players get a clean slate and it looks like it’s alleviated some of the tension that’s been in the room with rumors swirling around Deboer for a while. Now they’re got a chance to play some care free hockey and see if they can get themselves back into a playoff race in a mediocre Eastern Conference.
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After a great start to the season things haven’t been going so well for the Detroit Red Wings. Heading into Wednesday nights contest with the Devils the Red Wings have lost seven of their last nine games. The Wings had snapped a six game losing streak with consecutive wins Buffalo and Ottawa but they couldn’t keep it rolling on Monday against Boston. Justin Abdelkader’s ninth goal of the season tied the game at 1-1 in a first period that saw the Red Wings allow 19 shots on goal and three Bruins goals. Detroit was under attack all night long and though Jimmy Howard did his best to keep them in the game the onslaught was simply too much. Tomas Tatar added his 15th goal of the season on the power play late in the second period to cut the lead to 3-2 but the Red Wings would never find the equalizer in the third. Detroit allowed 45 shots on goal in the game, including being out shot 15-6 during a third period that they trailed entering. It was a disappointing result for a club that looked like they were starting to get things going in the right direction again, but they were taking on a Boston club that might have even been more desperate than they were. Wednesday night should be an opportunity for the Red Wings to focus in on their defensive game against a Devils club that is offensively challenged, but New Jersey will definitely give a solid effort.
New Jersey is a hard team to gauge right now with the recent coaching change, but Monday night’s effort was one to build off of. Detroit has struggled but matches up well against the Devils. This is one that could go either way in my opinion so getting the Devils at this number is worth a shot.