NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, November 3rd (All times eastern)
New Jersey Devils (3-9-1) at Chicago Blackhawks (7-6-1), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils hope to close what has been an awful road trip on a positive note tonight, but they will have to defeat the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in order to do so.
The Devils will close out a six-game swing tonight at the United Center after posting just one win in the first five tests of the trek. New Jersey is 1-5-0 in its last six games overall and has just three wins in 13 total games (3-9-1) this season.
New Jersey has also managed to score just 20 goals so far this year -- the club's lowest total ever through the first 13 games of a season.
Since posting a 2-1 victory in Anaheim on Friday, the Devils have scored just one goal over two straight losses to Los Angeles and Vancouver. New Jersey was blanked 3-0 by Roberto Luongo and the Canucks on Monday after dropping a 3-1 decision in LA on Saturday.
Martin Brodeur stopped 20 shots in defeat for the Devils and the loss wasn't the only bad news New Jersey received on Monday. The Devils also learned that forward Zach Parise will undergo exploratory arthroscopic surgery on his knee and will be out for an undetermined period of time. Parise aggravated an injury Saturday night in Los Angeles that hampered him during the summer.
Parise recorded a team-high 82 points (38 goals, 44 assists) in 2009-10.
The loss of Parise will place even more pressure on fellow winger Ilya Kovalchuk to break out of his scoring slump. The Russian star has three goals and three assists on the year, but hasn't registered a single point over his last four games. Kovalchuk, of course, is in the first season of a 15-year, $100 million deal.
The Devils, who will begin a three-game homestand Friday against the rival New York Rangers, are 3-5-0 as the road team overall this year.
Chicago played Monday night in New York City and was dealt a close loss by the Rangers. Erik Christensen tallied the game-winner early in the third period to lift the Blueshirts to a 3-2 win over their Original Six rivals.
Tomas Kopecky and Patrick Kane scored for Chicago, which has dropped four of its last six games. Duncan Keith notched two assists in the loss and Marty Turco made 21 saves.
"We know that they play hard and want to push the pace. They work and they're hard to play against," Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said.
The Blackhawks are 4-4-0 on home ice this year and have dropped two out of their last three as the host.
Chicago won both of its games against the Devils last year and outscored New Jersey by a combined 7-2 margin in those tilts. The Devils still have 10 wins in the last 15 meetings overall, but has lost two in a row in the Windy City.
11/03 11:05:00 ET