NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the New Jersey Devils host the St. Louis Blues at the Prudential Center at 7:30 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.
From injuries to mysterious infections (and maybe injured players dealing with said infections), the St. Louis Blues have been dealing with some notable hurdles early this season. Even so, they’re really starting to look like a team many pegged as a serious Stanley Cup contender, as they’re currently on a five-game winning streak.
That most recent win came last night against the New York Rangers, so the New Jersey Devils get two obvious advantages: they’re fresher and play on home ice tonight.
The Devils have been a tough team to peg in some ways.
They started off the 2014-15 campaign boasting a robust offense, as they won their first two games 11-5. A three-game winning streak was followed by a four-game skid, deflating some of that early optimism.
Now the Devils are on a two-game winning streak of their own, so Tuesday’s game against the Blues provides a chance for Cory Schneider & Co. to prove that New Jersey is better than a “bubble team.”
To do so, they’ll have to find a way to cool off red-hot Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko, who scored his seventh goal of the season in dazzling fashion last night:
Tarasenko now has six goals and two assists in his last four games.
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Each squad is hoping to get key offseason additions back sometime soon, though probably not tonight.
Paul Stastny was recently cleared for contact on the Blues’ end while Mike Cammalleri is expected to start skating again soon for New Jersey.
The Devils and Blues split their 2013-14 season series, and they’ll get the 2014-15 version over with quickly. Today’s match begins a home-and-home set that will represent their meeting this year (barring a Stanley Cup Final matchup, of course). Speaking of Cup Final matchups, Ken Hitchcock’s face may conjure up positive memories for longtime Devils fans, as his Dallas Stars fell to the Devils in a competitive 2000 championship round.
That’s probably about as far as the “history” angle goes for these two teams, really, but that doesn’t mean that tonight’s game won’t be heated.
Considering their reputations, one would expect a defensive battle, yet there are plenty of factors that could make for fireworks. Ultimately, it’s an interesting test for both squads, perhaps especially for New Jersey.