New Jersey Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers - 7:30 pm
Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
TV: NBCSN Radio: WFAN 101.9-FM, 660-AM
Goaltender: Martin Brodeur
1. Watch out for Giroux. The last time Devils fans saw Claude Giroux, they were making fun of his goal total because, well, Cam Janssen had more goals than him. He's turned the corner, though, and now has eight goals and 20 points in his last 16 games. As Devils broadcaster Sherry Ross astutely noted, let's hope Giroux doesn't "Okposo" the Devils tonight. That refers to Islanders forward Kyle Okposo scoring an OT goal against Chicago, a day after he was snubbed from the U.S. Olympics men's hockey team. Giroux received a similar fate earlier today when he was left off Team Canada's roster. Tread lightly, Devils fans.
2. Pretty darn close to a must-win. As much of a must-win as you can have early in January. The Devils have sunk to sixth in the Metro Division. Although they are only four points out of third, Columbus has the same point total as them and the red-hot Isles are only five points behind NJ. If the Devils fall into a funk, they may find themselves snowballing down the mountain. A win tonight and they are two points behind the Flyers. A regulation loss and they'll be seventh in the division and potentially five points back before they are back on the ice on Thursday.
3. Marty bounce back? For two periods against Chicago, Martin Brodeur was in vintage form. He looked as though he could steal a win from the defending champs on home ice. Then the third period happened, as he got rung up for four goals. Now he'll face a team that he's dominated in two matchups this season. He's stopped nearly 98 percent of pucks sent at him by Flyers skaters. He's allowed one goal in two games. This is certainly a different Flyer team than we saw in October but the Devils know their style and should be negate some of the momentum they come in on, having won seven of their last 10.
Prediction - Devils 3 Flyers 2 OT
The Devils really need this game in the worst way and I think they'll get it done. It won't be pretty and they won't gain full ground on the Flyers, but it'll be enough for a victory and for the team to feel good about themselves again.
We called Reid Boucher's first goal a few games ago. It's time for another prediction: I think Ryane Clowe gets his first marker as a Devil tonight.
Enjoy the game, everyone.