NHL Hockey

0
Final 1 2 3 Tot
Vancouver 0 0 0 0
New Jersey 2 0 2 4
4
10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 AM MST1:00 PM EST22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:� BRT, December 31, 2018
Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey  Attendance: 15,772

Canucks could face Devil of a time in New Jersey

Vancouver Canucks at New Jersey Devils

  1. Vancouver beat Calgary, 3-2, on Saturday, improving to 8-2-1 (.773) over its last 11 after winning just one of the previous 13 (1-10-2, .154). The Canucks have held their opponent to two goals or fewer in eight of those 11 games and are allowing just 2.23 goals per game this month, fewest in the NHL.
  2. New Jersey shut out the Hurricanes, 2-0, on Saturday for its fourth shutout win of the season, tied with Dallas and Pittsburgh for second most in the NHL (Vegas, five). The Devils have allowed 2.83 goals per game at home compared to 3.89 on the road; that 1.06 difference is third largest in the NHL (home better than road; Rangers, 1.84; Senators, 1.69).
  3. The Devils have won seven straight against the Canucks after Vancouver took 11 of the previous 13 dating back to December 2001. All seven of those New Jersey wins have been by two goals or fewer and five of them have been decided by a single goal.
  4. Brock Boeser lit the lamp for the second straight game in the win over the Flames, his 14th goal of the season. He has tallied 86 points (47g, 39a) through 99 career games and will play in his 100th tonight; that's the most by a Canuck through his first 100 games since Pavel Bure tallied 111 to start his career.
  5. Elias Pettersson has scored in back-to-back games and has 19 goals through 35 games this season. His 19 goals this season are nearly double that of any other rookie; Carolina's Andrei Svechnikov and Ottawa teammates Brady Tkachuk and Colin White are tied for second most with 10 each.
  6. MacKenzie Blackwood will make his fourth career start today. Through his first five career games (three starts), he's posted a 1.58 GAA and a .956 save percentage; that's the best start by an NHL netminder through five games since Anaheim's Viktor Fasth had a .957 save percentage in January/February 2013.

Among the troublesome areas for the New Jersey Devils this season is goal prevention. Cory Schneider is injured after struggling in his return from hip surgery while Keith Kinkaid is struggling to duplicate his effectiveness from last season.

Enter Mackenzie Blackwood, who has put together two straight stellar performances and off to a strong start to his career.

Whether it's Kinkaid or Blackwood, the Devils will be attempting to get their third straight win Monday afternoon when they host the Vancouver Canucks.

New Jersey's goaltenders own a combined 3.15 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage, resulting in the Devils allowing 125 goals or 3.38 per game, the fifth-highest total in the league

Kinkaid has a 3.02 GAA after he posted a 2.77 GAA in 41 games last season. Schneider is 0-5-1 with a 4.66 GAA but landed on injured reserve two weeks ago with an abdominal strain, resulting in Blackwood's promotion from AHL Binghamton.

Since joining the Devils, Blackwood is 2-0 with a 1.58 GAA and a save percentage of .956 in five appearances (three starts). He stopped 40 shots in Thursday's 5-2 victory at Boston and followed it up with a 37-save shutout in Saturday afternoon's 2-0 win over Carolina.

"When you're in a situation where things haven't gone as you'd like, for guys to be able to come in and make an impact on the team is really important," New Jersey coach John Hynes said.

Because of Blackwood's performances, the Devils have a chance at getting three straight wins for the first time since allowing four goals during a season-opening four-game winning streak. New Jersey also is trying to allow two goals or fewer for the third straight game for the first time since its season-opening streak.

"It's huge," Blackwood said. "It's awesome. Everyone dreams about this kind of stuff. The challenge here is to just keep going, keep moving forward, keep having success."

Since a three-game losing streak Dec. 15-20, the Devils are 3-1 in their last four games and since a six-game skid (0-3-3) from Nov. 23-Dec. 3, they are 5-4-2 in their last 11 contests.

The Devils played Saturday without Taylor Hall, who missed his third game of the season and second in a row with a lower-body injury. The Devils are 2-0-1 in games Hall has missed and he is day-to-day after not practicing Sunday.

Without Hall, Pavel Zacha scored a short-handed goal on his own rebound during a breakaway while defenseman Andy Greene scored an empty-net goal.

Vancouver is 2-0 on its second six-game road trip of the season after getting wins in Edmonton and Calgary. The Canucks went 1-3-2 on their first six-game trip that was part of an eight-game overall losing streak.

Since the eight-game skid, Vancouver is 9-5-2 in its last 16 games and 5-0-1 in its last six road games.

The Canucks head to New Jersey after Alex Edler scored the game-winning goal 3:06 into overtime of a 3-2 win at Calgary on Saturday. Edler played 27:45, blocked four shots and has four goals to go along with seven assists since returning from a knee injury Nov. 24.

"We've started to realize what we have to do to be successful and tonight we didn't play great but got better in the second half and got to overtime and then anything can happen," Edler said. "We've been having good pushes in the third period."

Rookie Elias Pettersson also scored for the second straight game and his 39 points are the fifth-most in team history through 34 career games. The Canucks have won their last seven games when he scores and 8-0-1 in the last nine games when he registers at least one point.

"We got away with a game where we didn't play our best, but we trust each other and we have the confidence to be patient," Pettersson said. That's how we won in overtime, but it was hard. The first shift I was gassed and then I almost had a breakaway, but you get a lot of space to use your skill."

Brock Boeser also scored and has eight goals this month and 14 overall. Five of his goals are in the last eight games and Boeser totaled eight shots on goal Saturday.

New Jersey has won the last seven meetings since a 2-0 loss at Vancouver on Nov. 25, 2014.

Updated December 30, 2018

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