BY: DAVID KOLB | @DAVIDKOLBMSG
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (3-3-1) @ NEW JERSEY DEVILS (3-2-1)
NO PLACE LIKE NEWARK
The Devils won their third straight home game Tuesday and improved to 3-2-1 this season, and 3-0-0 at Prudential Center. They will be tested this weekend, however, as they host the Chicago Blackhawks tonight, and then will faceoff against the Tampa Bay Lightning, in the second half of a back-to-back, on Saturday.
DEFENSE AND GOALTENDING FIRST
The Devils have approached each game this season the right way, defensively zeroing in on the opposing team’s top players, in an effort to mitigate damage on the scoreboard. The result is the Devils No. 1 ranking in goals-against, only allowing 12 in six games.
First-year Devil, Taylor Hall scored two goals with an assist in Tuesday’s 5-3 win over Arizona. Hall now has five goals in his past four games, including two multiple-goal games and hopes to have momentum carry forward to tonight’s tilt with the Blackhawks. Hall has 22 career points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 18 games vs. the Blackhawks.
With tonight’s tilt being the first half of a back-to-back set, Keith Kinkaid will start tonight, as Cory Schneider will start tomorrow versus Tampa. Kinkaid is making his first start of the season and is 0-0-1 all-time against Chicago, with a 1.85 goals against average and .949 save-percentage.
CHICAGO POWER OUTAGE
Perhaps the most surprising story of the early part of the season is that the Blackhawks sit dead last in the NHL in penalty-killing this season, killing only 46.2 percent of the shorthanded situations that they face. By comparison, the Devils have killed 90 percent and rank fifth in the NHL.