Game Preview: Devils at Flames

By: David Kolb

NEW JERSEY DEVILS (16-18-9) @ CALGARY FLAMES (23-19-2)
Live game coverage begins at 8:30 PM on MSG+2

SECOND OF FOUR

Tonight the Devils continue their four-game western swing as they visit the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome for the first of two games the Devils play against the Flames this season. The clubs will conclude their season series Feb. 13 in Newark at The Rock. The Devils have now dropped four straight games including last night’s disappointing 3-2 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers after leading in the third period, 2-1. Meanwhile, the Flames have won four out of their past six games, including Wednesday’s big divisional 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks.

HALL RETURNS

Taylor Hall returned to Edmonton last night for the first time since being traded to New Jersey this past summer and picked up an assist helping the Devils to a 2-1 lead in the second period. No. 9’s style is best suited to the up-and-down action in the west and will look to take advantage tonight against the Flames. Hall has three points in his past six games and shares the lead in points for the Devils with nine goals and 17 assists for 26 points in his first season in Newark.

BACKLUND PRODUCING

Flames center Mikael Backlund leads Calgary in scoring this season and picked up two assists Wednesday against the Sharks, giving him a goal and four assists in his past five games. Backlund currently has 12 goals and 17 assists for 29 points and is looking to surpass last season’s career-high of 47 points in the second half of the season.

ZAJAC KEEPS PACE WITH HALL

Alternate captain Travis Zajac scored the Devils opening goal last night in Edmonton, giving the 31-year-old a goal and an assist in his past three games. Zajac improved to nine goals and 17 assists for 26 points in 41 games and is currently tied for the Devils’ point-lead with Hall who has the same stat line as Zajac.

FAMILIAR NAME, SAME RESULTS

Flames 19-year-old left wing Matthew Tkachuk has lived up the Tkachuk name and has looked super-comfortable on the ice in his initial NHL campaign. He laces them up tonight red-hot, picking up a goal and four assists in his past five games. Throughout 40 games played this season, Tkachuk has been an offensive threat, scoring eight goals with 19 assists for 27 points, and owns an impressive plus-10 rating.