Matchup: Detroit Red Wings vs. New Jersey Devils
Venue: The Prudential Center; Trenton, NJ
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Television: Detroit- FSD; New Jersey- MSG
The Detroit Red Wings (28-20-12, 68 points, 5th place Atlantic Division) will need to keep winning on a consistent basis if they are to make the playoffs for a 23rd consecutive season. After a four day break to get their legs back, the Red Wings will take to the ice looking for their third consecutive victory. They will have to earn the victory without another one of their best players as Pavel Datsyuk, who has missed a considerable amount of time this season with injury, will be out with a lower body injury. After being named the first star in the NHL for the week, Johan Franzen, will need to continue to step up in Datsyuk and Zetterberg’s absence. The Red Wings have been able to get contributions from all lines during the past two games which will need to continue down the stretch as they continue to play many players who began the season in the AHL. The Red Wings currently hold the final wild card spot over the Washington Capitals who do not play tonight. A victory guarantees them a playoff spot for another day at least.
The New Jersey Devils (26-23-13, 65 points, 6th place Metropolitan Division) come into tonight’s game very much alive in the playoff race. Currrently the Devils trail the Red Wings by three points, though the Red Wings have two games in hand on the Devils. The Devils have continued to play mediocre hockey over their past ten games as they have all season. They come into play tonight with a 4-4-2 record in the past ten games. If the Devils are to make the playoffs, they will have to do it without longtime netminder Martin Brodeur, who is expected to be traded befre the trade deadline.
Starting in goal for the Red Wings will be Jimmy Howard after he was given last game off to recover from the jet lag sustained from the flight back from Sochi.
The Devils will counter with Martin Brodeur in what could be his last start for the Devils. As mentioned above, Brodeur could be traded before the trade deadline to a team in need of a goalie for a playoff push. The trade rumors could affect Brodeur’s play, so it will be important for the Red Wings to strike fast against a goalie who has been simply spectacular his entire career.