NASHVILLE, TN – The New Jersey Devils begin a marathon six-game road trip with a stop in Nashville on Saturday night. The Devils face the Western Conferences’ top team in the Predators, a group that is currently riding a 10-game win streak.
“They’re deep,” Blake Coleman said. “It seems like they run four lines consistently, all four lines can score and all four lines can skate and I think everyone is up for the challenge. They’re hot right now, I think it would be a lot of fun to come in this building and put our foot down with a statement win.”
Against the Predators, the Devils are down two centermen in Pavel Zacha and Travis Zajac. Both forwards stayed behind in New Jersey and are considered day-to-day. The hope is that both players will be able to rejoin their teammates at some point during the two-week road trip.
In the absence of Zacha and Zajac, forward Brian Gibbons will center the second line, a position he hasn’t played in several years but is confident in his ability to perform in his adjusted role.
“He’s a real smart player,” coach John Hynes said. “He’s quick. He understands how to play center. He played center in the past. He’ll probably be a good fit with [Michael] Grabner and [Kyle] Palmieri where he can distribute the puck. He’s got good speed and defensively he understands how he needs to play.”
Keith Kinkaid will get the start in net against the Predators. At the other end of the ice will be Nashville’s backup goaltender Juuse Saros.
The Devils lineup against the Predators is expected to look as follows: