NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Red Wings vs. Devils (October 15)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier
Red Wings vs. Devils Odds
|Red Wings Odds||+140|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Detroit is starting its season on a back to back as the Red Wings emerged victorious in a shutout against Montreal on Friday.
New Jersey is coming off a disappointing opening night loss in Philadelphia against the Flyers and will look to get ahead of a surging Detroit team.
Who will come out on top in a battle of two teams trying to reach the playoffs?
Detroit Red Wings
Expectations have risen for the Red Wings after a stellar offseason in which Steve Yzerman added veterans David Perron, Andrew Copp, Dominik Kubalik, Ben Chiarot and Ville Husso to the mix. The foundation was always in place with core pieces like reigning Calder Trophy winner Mo Seider, Lucas Raymond, Tyler Bertuzzi and Dylan Larkin. However, Detroit needed experience to teach the young guys how to win and play a structured game.
You had to have liked what you saw from the Red Wings last season, but there was always something missing. The defense was abysmal and allowed the most high-danger chances of any team. They also couldn’t generate much on the offensive end with a 45.62 xGF% (Expected Goals). Detroit basically relied on talent alone, which wasn’t going to get the Red Wings very far. Granted last night, I like what I saw out of them, so it’s possible they have turned the corner.
The goaltending situation will be something to keep an eye on, as Detroit will go as far as the defense allows it to. Many believed the addition of Alex Nedeljkovic would help, but he had a rough season with a .901 SV% and a -6.9 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected). Adding Ville Husso was a big get, as he temporarily won the starting job in St. Louis last year with a .919 SV% and a +13.5 GSAx. However, since Husso started against Montreal last night, I think Nedeljkovic gets the nod against New Jersey.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils are one of the more confusing teams to figure out. There’s loads of talent on the roster, but the goaltending underperformed and they missed the playoffs by a wide margin. However, free agency was kind to them as they landed two-time Stanley Cup champion Ondrej Palat, who can be a significant boost to a group of young players like Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt. New Jersey also acquired John Marino via trade, a steady defenseman to help the back end.
When looking at all the underlying numbers, you have to like most of what New Jersey put out on Thursday. The Devils need to work on their power play as they were bottom five in the league last year. However, their expected goals rate last year was fairly good, and against the Flyers, they put up a 63.09 xGF% and 11 high-danger chances. Even the defense held up strong, limiting Philadelphia to just a 36.91 xGF% and four high-danger chances. However, they still let up five goals, which is alarming since the Flyers are poised for the lottery.
That leads us to New Jersey's biggest question mark: goaltending. Mackenzie Blackwood had a very unconventional season. Many believed he would flourish, but instead he posted a lowly .892 SV% and a -12.7 GSAx. The Devils also acquired Vitek Vanecek from the Capitals and he could be a big help.
The Czechian netminder had a decent season last year with a .908 SV% and a -5.6 GSAx. Not only that, but he was extraordinary in preseason. I expect Vanecek to take the net since Blackwood struggled against a depleted Flyers roster. Perhaps he can be the spark this team desperately needs.
Red Wings vs. Devils Pick
If there was a time to get excited for the Red Wings, it would be this year. There are still things to be concerned about, such as their special teams and defense, but perhaps all the new veteran additions could be a big help (Husso looked amazing last night).
I think the Devils can be so much better if they figured out their special teams and goaltending. This will be a big year for both the team, and Vanecek, who could possibly be the answer for them.
I'm high on the Wings, but I think the fact that they’re coming off a back-to-back will hurt since it's so early in the season. Also, if Vanecek starts it could benefit the Devils as he had been dynamite since coming to Newark.
Pick: Devils 60 Minute Line (+100)