Though the Detroit Red Wings and the New Jersey Devils have taken different paths so far this season Tim Heed Jersey
, they arrive at Saturday’s Prudential Center matinee with nearly identical records while trying to stay out of the basement of their respective division.The Red Wings (8-9-2) did not win their first game until Oct. 20, but have seven wins in the last nine games. The Devils (8-8-1) won each of their first four games before dropping nine of 11, though they enter play Saturday having won two straight.As a result, the Devils are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for last place in the Metropolitan Division and the Red Wings are one point ahead of the Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division.Article continues below ...“I told the players that if our game improves then our results will improve,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “That’s where our focus has to be.”Despite recent injuries to centers Nico Hischier and Brian Boyle, the Devils showed a more complete commitment to doing all that it takes to win in the NHL in their last two games after a hideous road trip in which they won only once in seven games.First, the Devils topped the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 on Tuesday night, with Taylor Hall scoring twice and adding two assists. The Devils followed with an impressive 3-0 road win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday as Blake Coleman scored a goal and finished with three points, goaltender Keith Kinkaid posted his third shutout, tying him for the league lead.“We know exactly where we are in the standings, and it’s frustrating to see yourself there,” Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy told nj.com. “But it’s what we’ve deserved so far. In order for us to get back into this thing, we’ve got to play consistently good hockey. We’ve done that the last couple of games.”Hischier, who missed the last two games with an upper-body injury, practiced Friday, but he remains questionable for Saturday’s game. And while Boyle remains on injured reserve with an upper-body injury of his own Womens Tomas Hertl Jersey
, defenseman Sami Vatanen is also questionable to play against the Red Wings because of an unspecified injury that knocked him out of Thursday’s game in the second period.The Red Wings stumbled Thursday night, losing 2-1 to the Senators in Ottawa to end a four-game winning streak. Yet they’ve rebounded from a terrible start this season and scored 29 goals in their last seven victories while playing much better defensively.One of their recent wins was a 4-3 victory over the Devils on Nov. 1 in Detroit, part of that miserable road trip for New Jersey.“I think if you ask the guys from Jersey, they probably think they didn’t have their best game in our building,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill told reporters on Friday. “They felt like they weren’t skating that game … and I felt we played very good. So (this time) I’m expecting to get Jersey when they’re at their best — really hounding you with their forward pressure, really on top of you all night.”Rookie Michael Rasmussen was one of Detroit’s goal scorers in that game. He also scored the only goal in Thursday’s loss, and has four goals in his last eight games.“I think he’s going to score lots of goals in this league because he knows how to go to the net,” Blashill said of the 19-year-old Rasmussen.Last season, the Devils and Red Wings split games played in New Jersey, though the Devils did take the overall season series 2-1. Hall had four points in two games and Hischier had three goals in three games for the Devils.“They’ve been a little up and down since we last played them, but they’re at home so they’ll try to have a fast start, get the crowd into the game,” Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall told the team’s website. “We want to do the exact opposite, take the crowd out of it and stay on top of them instead of the other way around.” It’s not a spot predicted by many for the Montreal Canadiens or the Washington Capitals before the season, but here they are heading into their game at Bell Centre on Monday, fighting for the second wild-card position in the Eastern Conference at the quarter point of the NHL season.Not much was expected of the Canadiens after they finished 14th in the Eastern Conference last season Adidas Jaroslav Halak Jersey
, made drastic changes to their lineup and are missing top defensemen Shea Weber (offseason foot surgery) to start the season. With a record of 11-6-3 and coming off a Western Canada road trip in which they won four of six points, the Canadiens are one of the early pleasant surprises of the season.The Washington Capitals, on the other hand, are coming off the first Stanley Cup in franchise history and have gotten off to a slow start under coach Todd Reirden, who replaced Barry Trotz, with a record of 9-7-3.Article continues below ...The Capitals are wrapping up a four-game road trip and are 2-1 in the first three games. The Capitals don’t have good memories of their last visit to Montreal on Nov. 1. They were up 4-3 with four minutes to go in the game and lost in regulation.The Capitals are without No. 1 goaltender Braden Holtby, who was injured Wednesday (upper body) while preparing to play the Winnipeg Jets that night. Holtby skated in Montreal on Sunday, but his status for Monday is not known. Pheonix Copley, the 26-year-old native of North Pole, AK, has stepped in and done a good job: He’s given up two goals a game in each of his past four starts and is 3-1-0.“Holtby was back on the ice today, which was good to see,”Washington coach Todd Reirden told the team’s website after the Capitals practiced Sunday. “So we’ll continue to evaluate that, even later (Sunday) afternoon.“It was good,” Holtby told Washingtoncapitals.com. “Obviously it was nice to be back out on the ice and start feeling some shots and work some things out. It felt good.”Capitals key forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie were both injured against Winnipeg and missed Washington’s 3-2 overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. They are day-to-day with upper-body injuries.The Canadiens lost the first game of their road trip in Edmonton to the Oilers and bounced back with wins against the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks.After failing to score on the power play in their previous four games, the Canadiens got the winner with the man advantage from Jonathan Drouin. Goaltender Carey Price Adidas Steven Kampfer Jersey
, after a rocky stretch in which he went 1-3-1 with an .854 save percentage and did not start the road trip in Edmonton, bounced back with 43 saves against Calgary and 35 against Vancouver.“A big character win for us to come back,” Price told NHL.com. “It’s good to get a couple bounce-back games after Edmonton and make it a successful road trip.”“We all knew he hadn’t been playing his best when we gave him that little bit of a break, but now he’s back to being Carey, that’s the difference,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien told NHL.com. “He’s calm, he’s making saves. Sometimes a little step backwards and time to refocus is not a bad thing. These goalies play under pressure every game.”Canadiens forward Tomas Tatar, who came to the team as part of one of those big trades that sent captain Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights, scored his sixth goal in his past six games Saturday against the Canucks.Forward Max Domi, obtained from the Phoenix Coyotes for forward Alex Galchenyuk, is riding a nine-game point streak in which he has 13 points (five goals, eight assists).