A Look at the New Jersey Devils Matchup Against the Dallas Stars

Nicholas SteblenkoContributor IIIDecember 16, 2011

The return of Travis Zajac should boost the Devils' offense
The return of Travis Zajac should boost the Devils' offenseRonald Martinez/Getty Images

This is the second of two meetings between the two clubs. The Dallas Stars won the first 3-1 in October, but the New Jersey Devils are re-surging. 

Both teams are looking to continue their momentum heading into this Friday night's matchup. New Jersey put together a pair of wins this week against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers. The second coming in a shootout where the Devils are 7-1. 

The Stars are having a successful road trip across the Northeast, with wins against the New York Islanders and New York Rangers. Both were one-goal contests. Much of their success can be pinned to their rookie goaltender Richard Bachman, who is filling in well for the injured Kari Lehtonen.

The Devils will need their top line to continue producing at a high rate, but they will get back a major piece of the puzzle tonight, Travis Zajac. Zajac has been out since the beginning of the season with an Achilles injury, but will see his first action of the 2011-12 season tonight.

Who to Watch For:

The Devils are getting some offensive production from it's top line of Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise and Adam Henrique. However, it remains to be seen how the Devils Coach Peter DeBoer will handle the lines with Zajac back in the mix.

All four players are on my watchlist tonight. There is a possibility that defenseman Anton Volchenkov will be back from IR as well.

For the Stars, their rookie goalie is the story right now. Richard Bachman has put together a nice string of games, including a 1-0 shut out of the Rangers a couple nights ago.

The Stars have won their last three games by one goal thanks to Bachman. So if he stands tall once again, the Devils might be in for a rough night.

Retirement of a Great


Tonight is a very special night in New Jersey. Scott Niedermayer's jersey will be raised to the rafters to join two other Devils greats: Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko.

Niedermayer's 13-year tenure in New Jersey played a huge role in the shaping of an identity. New Jersey made the playoffs for the first time in 1988, just three years before Niedermayer burst onto the scene for the Devils.

Throughout his time with New Jersey, Scott Niedermayer brought a presence comparable to that of Bobby Orr. The way he flew up and down the ice from the defenseman position showed his grace and speed. 

He helped bring the Devils to hoist the Stanley Cup three times in nine seasons. He could play the infamous trap like every Devils defenseman was expected to, while at the same time adding offense where it was needed.

Even though Niedermayer went on to play elsewhere in the NHL, it shows a great amount of respect that the Devils still call him one of their own. Tonight will be an emotional night for Scott.New Jersey should feel excited to celebrate this great moment with him.

Congratulations to Scott and the Devils for a great relationship and 13 great seasons.