Devils riding losing streak into clash with Leafs
The New Jersey Devils are limping home to the Prudential Center after a 1-3-0 Western Conference road trip.
New Jersey (9-6-3) hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday riding a three-game losing streak and will be without leading scorer Taylor Hall (knee surgery) and forwards Kyle Palmieri (upper body) and Michael Cammalleri (personal).
The Devils could certainly use some firepower, especially on a moribund power-play that is 0-for-29 in their last nine games. New Jersey is 26th in the NHL with 2.22 goals per game and the power play ranks 28th at 11.9 percent.
New Jersey was shut out 4-0 at San Jose on Monday — its first shutout since being blanked by the Colorado Avalanche on January 14th, 2016.
Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid made his fourth start of the season and lost in regulation for the first time in 2016-17, falling to 2-1-1 overall. He stopped a season-high 37 of 41 (.902 save percentage shots.)
“We had a big opportunity here to have a good road trip and go .500 and just to come out with a lack of effort, I guess you can say, was disheartening and it's not acceptable and it starts with me,” said captain Andy Greene, who logged a season-high 27:18. “We've got to make sure we're good to go right from the drop of the puck and we weren't tonight.”
The Maple Leafs (8-8-3) are coming off a 2-1 loss to the Hurricanes in Carolina on Tuesday. They are 1-9 on the road.
“I just thought it was a tight game, exactly like we expected,” said Leafs coach Mike Babcock. “We knew it would be tight checking, heavy going. They scored on their power play, we didn't. We gave up a short-handed goal, so there's the game right in itself. In saying all that, I thought it was a contested game, there was no room, there were lots of battles. I think these are games we have to get better in and find ways to win.”
Toronto is undergoing some goal-scoring droughts of its own. Rookie sensation Auston Matthews hasn't scored in 12 games. His six goals are tied with William Nylander for fourth among rookies.
Should the Devils get the man advantage that unit will be facing a Toronto penalty kill that is ranked 10th in the NHL.
The Leafs are one of the more physical teams in the league. Center Nazem Kadri is second in the NHL in penalty minutes with 45 and his teammate left winger Matt Martin is third with 41.