G71 New Jersey Devils vs Minnesota Wild: How about an encore
The Timo Meier, Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt line put on an offensive clinic against the Lightning. Can they build on it against the Wild?
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A few notes to get you set for the New Jersey Devils’ last home game before the Infernal Access takeover:
There’s more than meets the eye
On the surface you’d think the Devils will have an abnormally difficult time creating chances tonight. Understandably so; the Minnesota Wild have been a defense-first team since The Stone Age and this year is no different.
At 5v5, the Wild rank 1st in high-danger chances against, 2nd in goals against, and 3rd in expected goals against. They’ve defended extremely well for the majority of the season. But they’ve been vulnerable of late.
Since deadline day, the Wild rank 25th in attempts against and 17th in xG against at 5v5.
They’ve dealt with some injuries and, without Kirill Kaprizov, they simply aren’t spending as much time on the front foot. That has hurt them and I expect that to continue against New Jersey.
Only the Los Angeles Kings have controlled a larger share of the expected goals than the Devils since March 3rd. The Devils are steamrolling opponents on a nightly basis, posting an xGF above 60% in that span.
If not for some hit and miss goaltending, the Devils would own a much better record than 5-3-2 over the past 10. They are playing very well.
While the Wild are generally a team you’d expect 26-to-28 shots against, I think the Devils will flirt with the mid 30s once again. They appear to hold a pretty decisive edge at full-strength.
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