The New Jersey Devils head into game 3 in need of a win. They are at home, which could be a big boost. The Devils trail in the series 2-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes, who have outplayed them. New Jersey has been unable to get anything going against an elite Hurricanes team. New Jersey now has two straight games at home, which they want to take full advantage of.
What can the New Jersey Devils do to tie this series?
Devils need to control play
Carolina has pushed around New Jersey in the first two games, making the Devils chase them. The teams are evenly matched but one would not know it by the start of this series as the Hurricanes have dominated. The Devils need to practice better puck possession, keeping the puck away from the Canes . It sounds simple but the more the Devils have the puck, the less chance that Carolina has to score. This would also prevent Carolina from using their speed to advance the puck in a moments notice. Cycling the puck in the offensive zone would help the offense create offensive chances, which they are capable of doing as a group. As fast as the Devils are, the Hurricanes are faster so the Devils need to slow the pace when Carolina starts running around. Be patient with the puck, make more passes, anything to keep the puck away from their forwards.
New Jersey needs to feed off home crowd
Although the Devils are 2-2 at home in the playoffs, the energy the crowd will bring for games 3 and 4 should help the team in every way. The Devils are staring at a 2-0 series deficit and will be playing with emotion at home. A sell-out crowd that is extremely loud will be beneficial to the play of the team. They feed off of this. The change of scenery will also help in this situation as they will have family and friends in the arena as well as last minute changes. If all plays into the hands of the Devils, this series could be 2-2 heading back to Carolina.
Find a way to stop Canes forward Sebastian Aho
Carolina forward Sebastian Aho is a top forward in the entire NHL. He is dangerous when on the ice and makes teams pay with ease, and now New Jersey is learning that first hand. Aho has four goals and five assists for nine points in eight games. Aho is a +6, has two power play goals, and has a shooting percentage of 20%. The Devils may have an advantage now at home with the last change. New Jersey does have the right mix of forwards and defenseman to get the job done but have had a tough time doing so thus far. A little more physical play and line matching may be able to slow the talented forward down.
Solve Frederik Andersen
Canes goaltender Frederik Anderson is what Devils goaltender was in round one, games three, four, and five. He has been lights out. Andersen has a 3-0 record with a GAA of 0.97 and a save percentage of .963. in order to get to Andersen, they first have to get past the stingy Hurricane defense. New Jersey has players who are snipers, who are in front of the net guys, and guys who will screen the goaltender and tip pucks. They have the assets to do the job and show they have those assets in the first round. Being at home for the next two games could be a real advantage to rattle Anderson. Get him off of his game, send some shots higher than normal, and shoot from anywhere. He is beatable and is not perfect.
Feed off of the McLeod line
The New Jersey Devils have one good, energetic line and it is not the top two lines. The Michael McLeod, Miles Wood, and Nathan Bastian line have been very good. They bring energy, hit everything that moves, and create offensive chances. When they are on the ice, the mood of the Devils changes to a more positive, motivated group. With the last change, this line could be one to watch, possibly getting every shift against the Aho line. With as well as they have played, this line could be the one to carry New Jersey in this round.
Projected lineups for Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils
Stefan Noesen- Sebastian Aho- Seth Jarvis
Jordan Martinook- Jesperi Kotkaniemi- Jesper Fast
Jack Drury- Jordan Staal- Martin Necas
Derek Stephan- Paul Stastny- Jesse Puljujarvi
Jaccob Slavin-Brent Burns
Brady-Skjei- Brett Pesce
Shayne Gostisbehere- Jalen Chatfield
Frederik Andersen- Pyotr Kochetkov
Scratched- Calvin de Haan, Dylan Coghlan, Mackenzie MacEachern, Ville Koivunen, Vasily Ponomarev, Jamieson Rees, Ryan Suzuki, Maxime Lajoie, Zach Sawchenko
Injured- Teuvo Teravainen (broken hand), Antti Raanta (illness)
New Jersey Devils
Ondrej Palat-Nico Hischier- Jesper Bratt
Timo Meier- Jack Hughes- Dawson Mercer
Erik Haula- Jesper Boqvist- Tomas Tatar
MIles Wood- Michael McLeod- Nathan Bastian
Jonas siegewnthaler-Dougie Hamilton
Luke Hughes- Damon Severson
Kevin Bahl-John Marino
Vitek Vanecewk- Akira Schmid
Scratched- Yegor Sharangovich, Brendan Smith, Mackenzie Blackwood, Curtis Lazar
Injured- Ryan Graves (upper-body)
Lineups via nhl.com
Where to Watch
TBS, SN1, TVAS