Preview: Blues at Devils
The inability to win in the shootout has cost the New Jersey Devils some valuable points all season long. Coming off two more losses in the bonus format on their recent four-game road trip, the Devils open a three-game homestand on Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues. New Jersey is coming off a 3-2 regulation defeat in Phoenix on Saturday night, while the Blues are riding high following a convincing 4-1 triumph over Detroit.New Jersey went 1-1-2 on the trek, with shootout defeats in Toronto and Colorado extending the club's bizarre string of misery in the sudden-death format. The Devils come into Tuesday's action as the only team in the NHL without a shootout victory this season, losing all eight encounters. How bad is it for the Devils? Rookie forward Reid Boucher has the team's only shootout goal of the season in a whopping 25 total attempts.TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSMW (St. Louis), MSG+ (New Jersey)ABOUT THE BLUES (33-10-5): St. Louis had struggled on offense in its previous two games, but found paydirt against a Red Wings team that has struggled at home for most of the season. The Blues went into the game having scored two goals or fewer in four straight games, but Jaden Schwartz said prior to the Detroit game that he wasn't concerned about the mini-slump. "We don't want to force things," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We just want to stick to what we're doing."ABOUT THE DEVILS (20-19-11): Ranking near the bottom of the league in goals per game (2.3), the Devils know they need to figure out how to win close games and extra-time contests - and having dropped an NHL-record 12 straight shootout games dating back to last season has left a bitter taste in the players' mouths. "Yeah, you can sorta poo-poo the shootout and say, 'Ah, it's just a shootout,' netminder Cory Schneider told the Newark Star-Ledger. "But when you're not getting wins from it and you're leaving points on the table, then it matters."OVERTIME1. The Blues have won three straight meetings, though the teams haven't faced off since Feb. 9, 2012.2. Schneider is 2-1-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average in four career games versus St. Louis.3. The Blues are 4-2 in shootouts, with nine goals on 23 shots.PREDICTION: Blues 3, Devils 1
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