NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Devils vs. Red Wings (January 4)
Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Andrew Copp and Jonatan Berggren.
- The Detroit Red Wings host the New Jersey Devils in an NHL tilt on Wednesday evening.
- New Jersey is a short road favorite, but the best bet in this game is to look toward the total.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Devils vs. Red Wings Odds
|Red Wings Odds||+135|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Devils have secured three of a possible four points in their last two games, and hung with the unstoppable Carolina Hurricanes all the way to a shootout on New Year’s Day. But after their blazing-hot start to the season, New Jersey is just 2-7-2 in its last 11 games.
The story is similar in Detroit. The Red Wings are 3-1-1 in their last five but all told, their record is 5-7-3 since Thanksgiving.
Here’s the latest on both teams and your best bet for Wednesday’s contest.
New Jersey Devils
Back in November, the Devils were leading the NHL in just about every statistical category. They’re still very good, structurally. At 5-on-5, they’re second only to Carolina in expected goals share at 58.37%. They’re fifth in goals against per game (2.59), second in shots allowed per game (27.2) and fifth on the penalty kill (82.5%).
But their offensive numbers have now dipped a bit. They’re still tied for third in shots per game (34.8), but have slipped to ninth in scoring (3.35 goals per game) and 26th on the power play (19.1%). Over their last 10 games, the power play is just 4-for-30, or 13.3%.
On the injury front, most of the recent news has been positive. Defenseman John Marino remains on the sidelines with an upper-body injury, but Ryan Graves returned from a three-game absence on New Year’s Day. And Mackenzie Blackwood is back in net after missing six weeks with a knee injury, but his performance since his return has been a bit shaky.
Since his return on Dec. 20, Blackwood has a .898 save percentage and 3.57 goals-against average. Vitek Vanecek is only slightly better, at .901, but his GAA during that stretch is 2.38.
The Devils are headed into a back-to-back set, where they’ll host the St. Louis Blues on Thursday back at the Prudential Center. As of Tuesday evening, there’s no word on which goalie will draw which assignment.
Detroit Red Wings
At Thanksgiving, the Red Wings were sitting in a playoff spot — off to a better-than-expected start with a record of 11-5-4.
Head into Tuesday night’s games, they’re now five points out of a wild-card position, sitting 10th in the Eastern Conference.
They’re still four games above .500, which is a nice improvement from their 25th-place finish last season. But their forward momentum had definitely slowed, especially before they collected seven points in their last 10 games.
The Red Wings are still struggling with 5-on-5 puck possession, ranked 25th with a share of just 45.31%. In their 4-2 win over Ottawa on New Year’s Eve, the Red Wings snapped a stretch of six straight games with four or more goals allowed, which has dropped them to 20th overall with 3.11 goals against per game.
Though Alex Nedeljkovic is still on the roster, he’s at minus-11.1 goals saved above expected for the season and hasn’t played since Dec. 8. Ville Husso and Magnus Hellberg have been sharing duties since then, and while both also have save percentages below .900, Hellberg’s GAA over that timeframe is nearly one goal a game better than Husso’s.
The good news is that Detroit has been scoring well, of late. For the year, the club is tied for 19th with 3.11 goals per game and is 21st on the power play at 20.5%. But over the last six games, the Wings have scored 25 goals, more than four a game. They’re 5-for-23 with the man advantage over that stretch, or 21.7%.
Robby Fabbri could help spark the offense. He’s set to make his season debut on Wednesday after missing the last 10 months following ACL surgery.
To make room for Fabbri on their 23-man roster, the Wings put forward Jakub Vrana on waivers on Tuesday. He hasn’t played this season while he has been in the NHL’s player assistance program, and is currently on a conditioning stint with AHL Grand Rapids.
Two other key forwards remain on the injured list: Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina.
Devils vs. Red Wings Pick
Wednesday’s game will be the last of three meetings between the Devils and Red Wings this season. Counterintuitively, Detroit picked up the 5-2 win in Jersey back on Oct. 15 (remember ‘Fire Lindy’?) Ten days later, the Devils beat the Wings 6-2 at Little Caesars, igniting their 13-game winning streak.
And even with their recent struggles, the Devils continue to boast one of the NHL’s best road records at 13-2-1 for the year. The Red Wings are a decent 9-6-3 on home ice.
Those two earlier games this season do have one thing in common: both went over the total of 6.5, which is where the line is set for Wednesday night.
Though the Devils play sound structural hockey, Detroit’s recent firepower and question marks around goaltending at both ends could open the door for another high-scoring contest.
Look at the Over as your best bet for this matchup.
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