Winning special-teams game key to Blues’ success on road
The New Jersey Devils’ longest home win streak last season lasted just four games and didn’t reach its climax until their 30th contest at Prudential Center in late February.
Playing only their ninth game of this season’s home slate, the Devils can match that streak Tuesday night if they can solve Jake Allen and the St. Louis Blues.
New Jersey (8-5-1) has missed the playoffs for three straight seasons and finished seventh in the Metropolitan Division in 2014-15. The club’s 46 points in Newark were its fewest in a 41-game home schedule in team history.
The Devils showed few signs of improvement to start this season, losing three straight at home as part of a 0-3-1 overall start. However, they’ve bounced back by going 8-2-0 with wins in four of five at home, including three straight after Kyle Palmieri scored with 1:27 left in overtime of Sunday’s 4-3 win over Vancouver.
"You want to make home ice a tough place to play. That goes a long way in an 82-game season," Palmieri said. "You want teams to know the identity you have."
Palmieri is helping New Jersey carve out that identity, scoring four goals with five assists in the past six games after getting three points during the first eight. He has four points through the first two of this three-game homestand.
The Devils, though, are 1-5-1 in their last seven meetings with the Blues and 1-3-1 over the last five played in New Jersey. They dropped both matchups last season, beating Allen on just three of 53 shots.
Allen made 26 saves in a 1-0 win at Prudential Center on Nov. 4, 2014, and he’ll reportedly get the nod again. He’s won five of his last six starts overall with a 1.03 goals-against average and two shutouts.
Allen made a career-high 45 saves in Saturday’s 4-0 win at Nashville as St. Louis (10-3-1) got its fifth win in six games. The Blues have 10 goals in their last two, going 3 for 5 on the power play after coming up empty on 21 chances over the previous six games.
"You need to win the special-teams game if you expect to win on the road," coach Ken Hitchcock said.
Special teams is what delivered the club’s previous win in New Jersey with Vladimir Tarasenko scoring a power-play goal in the third period. Although the right winger has scored just one of his seven goals this season on the power play, he’s collected 11 of his 13 points in eight road games.
Colton Parayko has five goals and five assists, but the rookie defenseman has seven of those points in his past seven. He got his team-leading second power-play goal Saturday.
It’s unclear if the Devils will be without defenseman Adam Larsson, who could be facing a suspension from the NHL for his hit on the Canucks’ Jared McCann in the third period Sunday. He was assessed a 5-minute major for interference and a game misconduct.
- Adam Larsson
- Colton Parayko
- FOX Sports Midwest
- Jake Allen
- Kyle Palmieri
- New Jersey Devils
- St. Louis Blues
- Vladimir Tarasenko