The New Jersey Devils are not showing any indication they are going away anytime soon and can take over first place in the Metropolitan Division with a win on Saturday against the host Detroit Red Wings. The Devils, who have not made the playoffs since 2011-12, have earned at least one point in seven of their last eight contests (4-1-3) after edging Vancouver 3-2 at home on Friday.
Taylor Hall continued his strong campaign with a goal and two assists, pushing his team-leading total to 24 points, as New Jersey hit the 13-win mark four weeks earlier than last season. The Devils hope to improve on their record in the second of back-to-back contests (3-1-0) when they take on Detroit, which is winless in its last three after falling 2-1 in overtime at the New York Rangers on Friday. The Red Wings had been on an upswing with points in seven of nine games (6-2-1) before coughing up a late two-goal lead at home in an overtime loss to Colorado on Sunday and getting routed by Edmonton 6-2 three nights later. Detroit starts a three-game homestand, which also includes matchups against Los Angeles and Montreal, and is 4-3-3 in its new arena.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, MSG Plus2 (New Jersey), FSN Detroit
ABOUT THE DEVILS (13-5-4): Rookie defenseman Will Butcher notched an assist Friday and ranks second on the team with 17 points - one more than the 18-year-old Nico Hischier, who has failed to tally on 16 shots over his last four games. Blue-liner Damon Severson recorded his third goal of the season Friday and owns a plus-1 rating this campaign after finishing 2016-17 at minus-31 - the third-worst mark in the league. One of the improvements New Jersey has made this season is on the power play, where it has raised its success rate from 17.5 to 23.2 percent.
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (10-9-4): Tomas Tatar may be warming up again as he registered his third goal in four games Friday to increase his total to seven - second behind team leader Anthony Mantha (10), who is pointless in four contests. Dylan Larkin tops Detroit with 20 points and shares the team lead in assists (16) with defenseman Mike Green, who has gone four games without landing on the scoresheet. Blue-liner Trevor Daley, who has notched one point in 23 contests, left Friday’s game in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return.
1. Detroit C Henrik Zetterberg recorded an assist on Friday for his 918th career point, tying Pavel Datsyuk for sixth place on the franchise list.
2. New Jersey C Travis Zajac has yet to notch a point in five games since returning from a torn pectoral muscle.
3. The Red Wings have won three of the last four meetings, including a 4-1 triumph at home in April.
PREDICTION: Devils 4, Red Wings 2