The Need to Knows:
The Time: 4:00pm PT
The Place: Prudential Centre in Newark, New Jersey
Place to Watch: MSG, ROOT Northwest, ESPN+ for out-of-market fans
Place to Listen: KJR 93.3fm
An Opposing Viewpoint: All About the Jersey
Know Your Enemy:
The Devils are 33-13-4 with 70 points this season and they look every bit of it. The only teams that have a higher goal% than Seattle are Boston and New Jersey.
The Devils are a lot like the Kraken, but perhaps further along in their trajectory. The 2019 No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes is having an MVP-caliber season. Forwards Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, and defenseman Dougie Hamilton are the other names who are having outstanding seasons, but like the Kraken, the Devils are deep. They come in waves and they score in bunches.
The “Jersey” jerseys have grown on me over time, and I have to say, I did enjoy the “Hat” hat. I like how the Devil’s marketing team has fully embraced life’s absurdity.
It’s okay to lose coming off a big break. Lots of teams do it, it’s hard to get right back into mid-season mode coming off a relaxing vacay. But the other Pacific division teams got back on their horses and Seattle can’t afford to drop a few games in a row if they want to maintain top spot. The Devils, as noted above, are really good, and the fact that the Kraken handed them a loss last time should mean they have an axe to grind (or maybe a pitchfork).
The way to beat the Devils is to play mistake free hockey. Easier than it sounds perhaps, but a comparison of the two rosters show both team to have balanced scoring throughout their lineups. That means it isn’t enough to stop Jack Hughes, because somebody else will just step up and score. Tight defense and making the most of the other team’s errors, potentially supported by a lucky bounce or two. It doesn’t sound all that exciting, but excitement against teams like New Jersey usually ends up in the back of your net.
Kraken will need to beat teams like this if they want to advance in the playoffs, and they’ve beaten them before, but it’ll take a 60 minute effort to do it again.