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New Jersey Devils (15-15-7) at Chicago Blackhawks (25-7-6)

December 23rd, 2013 at 3:01 PM
By Andrew McIntyre

The Chicago Blackhawks are back in action tonight as they play host to the New Jersey Devils. The Blackhawks have won two of their last three, but are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday. The Devils have won three of their last four. This is the first of two meetings between the teams. The second game in the season series will be played in New Jersey on January 3.

Here are some notes for tonight's game:

  • The Blackhawks are still without their top two goaltenders in Corey Crawford and Nikolai Khabibulin. Crawford has been skating the last few days and is expected to join the team around the start of the new year.
  • The Blackhawks have eight players with 20 or more points, while the Devils only have three. Five of those eight have at least 30 points for the Blackhawks, while Jaromir Jagr is the only one over 30 points for the Devils.
  • The Blackhawks are third in the NHL averaging 33 shots on net per game. The Devils allow the least amount of shots on net at 24.4 per game.
  • Devils forward Jaromir Jagr needs two points to move into a tie for seventh on the all-time scoring list. Former-Penguins teammate Mario Lemieux currently sits seventh with 1,723 career points.
  • Andrei Loktionov (illness), Damien Brunner (knee) and Ryane Clowe (concussion) are all questionable for the Devils tonight. The Devils have ruled out four others due to injury (Ryan Carter, Peter Harrold, Adam Larsson, and Bryce Salvador)
  • Devils defenseman Andy Greene has five points over his last three games, including the game-winning overtime goal against the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

Battle Between The Pipes

Chicago Blackhawks: Antti Raanta (7-1-2, 2.22 GAA, .920 SV%)

Raanta has started every game since Corey Crawford went down with an injury. Raanta hasn't been sensational, but he has played well enough to give his team a chance to win almost every night. After allowing five goals on 25 shots on December 14 against Toronto, Raanta has bounced back only allowing four goals on 74 shots in his last three games.

New Jersey Devils: Cory Schneider (4-7-5, 2.03 GAA, .915 SV%)

Schneider is 0-2-2 in his last four games, allowing exactly three goals in each game. He hasn't had the greatest start to the year, but he does have two shutouts which shows that he is capable of blanking a team at any time.

Players To Watch

Chicago Blackhawks: Forward, Patrick Kane: 21 G, 27 A, 48 P

Kane is on an 11-game point streak, recording 20 points over that stretch. His 48 points rank second in the NHL, trailing only Sidney Crosby who has 54. Kane is having a career year and is showing no signs of slowing down.

New Jersey Devils: Forward, Jaromir Jagr: 13 G, 20 A, 33 P

Despite the fact that he's 41 years old, Jagr leads the team in goals, assists and points. He is currently on a seven-game point streak, recording 11 points over that stretch. Jagr is on pace to have his best season since 2007-2008 where he registered 71 points with the New York Rangers.

X Factors

Chicago Blackhawks: Forward, Brandon Saad: 12 G, 14 A, 26 P

Saad has seven points over his last seven games and has been solid for the team throughout the first half of the season. The second-year forward has already surpassed his rookie total in goals (10) and is only one point shy of tying his 27 point total.

New Jersey Devils: Forward, Travis Zajac: 6 G, 11 A, 17 P

Zajac is on a three-game point streak, tallying four assists over that span. After a slow start to the season he seems to finally be getting back on track as he also has seven points in his last seven games. 

Tonight's game starts at 7 pm. CT.

Let's Go Hawks!

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