The Calgary Flames will face the New Jersey Devils on February 27th at 7 pm ET. Calgary is coming off of their sixth victory after a win against the Islanders last night. New Jersey comes into the contest at .500 over their last ten games. Calgary currently has the second-best record in the NHL, while the Devils are 14 points out of a playoff spot. Our Devils vs Flames pick sees the injuries currently afflicting New Jersey as being key in this contest.
The Flames will give David Rittich the start after Mike Smith started the first game of the clubs’ back-to-back. Rittich has been shaky lately but put together a solid outing in his last start. He stopped 22-of-23 shots on February 24th in Ottawa. On the year, he has a .912 save percentage and a 2.61 GAA. On the road, Rittich has played well. He has a .932 save percentage in these games, and despite recent struggles is not a bad option against the Devils.
After trading Keith Kinkaid at the deadline, the Devils called up Mackenzie Blackwood. Blackwood has had a solid start to his NHL career. The netminder was sent back to the AHL after going 6-4-0 with a .926 save percentage. This was due to limited roster space. Being tasked with jumping back into NHL action against the second-best club in the league will be tough though. Exactly how well he will do is questionable.
New Jersey’s Injuries
New Jersey has struggled to score this season. This is much in part to losing Taylor Hall earlier in the year. Along with missing their best player in Hall, they are without their best defenseman as well. Sami Vatanen has been sidelined for about a month with a concussion. Their second highest scoring defenseman, Will Butcher, is likely out as well. Along with these injuries New Jersey has top-six forwards Jesper Bratt and Pavel Zacha listed as day-to-day. These key injuries will make it hard for the Devils to compete against the NHL’s second-best team.
Their other top players have not stepped up in wake of these injuries either. Kyle Palmieri (26-22-48) and Nico Hischier (17-26-43) are first and second on the Devils in scoring. They both have just a single point in their last four and five games respectively. Despite Rittch’s cold streak, the Flames have allowed the third-least shots in the NHL this year. Our Devils vs Flames pick notes that this game is unlikely to be the one that either player ends their recent struggles. The Devils also traded winger Marcus Johansson to Boston at the deadline. He was fifth on the club in goals and had four points in his last three games.
Devils vs Flames Pick
The only way we see a Devils win is if Rittich has a terrible game, or Blackwood steals the game. The Flames offensive firepower is a complete mismatch to New Jersey’s offensive potential. Our Devils vs Flames pick sees Calgary coming out on top of hometown NJ. We are also offering a free pick on tonight’s Leafs vs Oilers game, which also starts at 7 PM ET.