The Nashville Predators host the New Jersey Devils tonight. It’s the second half of a back-to-back for the Devils, who were missing starting goalie Vítek Vaněček last night, due to a combination of illness and injury, against the Seattle Kraken.
They recalled 23-year-old Akira Schmid from their AHL team, but didn’t skate this morning, so it’s uncertain whether his fellow youth Nico Daws will start two in a row, Schmid will play this one, or Vaněček will be able to return. Daws had a great night last night, allowing only one goal in the win, and has actually had the best season of the three Devils goalies so far, with a .903 sv% overall. Vaněček, who’s started more games than the other two combined, has a .890, and Schmid a .893.
Goaltending has been a salient weakness for the Devils this season, despite good team defense. They’ve combined a solid offense with good shooting luck, making for high-scoring hockey and an impactful power play.
Jesper Bratt leads the team with 55 points, with a sharp drop-off to Jack Hughes in second with 47 (in 35 games), and an even steeper fall to Tyler Toffoli, in third and leading the rest of the pack with 35. Bratt’s 35 points and Toffoli’s 22 goals lead the team, but Erik Haula and Nico Hischier have both also made significant contributions to driving play.
It’s likely to be an exciting game tonight, with lots of goals on both sides. The game airs at 7PM Central on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game.