Anaheim Ducks vs. New Jersey Devils Pick & Prediction MARCH 1st 2024

The pressure is on for the New Jersey Devils, and they know it with their playoff hopes in a tenuous state.

However, as the Devils prepare to visit the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night, they have pep in their step on the heels of Tuesday’s 7-2 victory over the Sharks in San Jose in the first contest of a three-game California trip.

“It feels good to start off on the right foot,” New Jersey forward Jesper Bratt said. “That’s a win we take as good, but we’ve got to push that off to the side, too, and focus on the next game. We can’t have time being too satisfied with wins; we have to move on. … It’s going to be all business from this point on.”

The Devils head into Friday’s action five points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Division and six back of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot.

New Jersey has won two of its past three games but is sputtering with only three victories in its last seven games.

However, handily defeating the Sharks provided a jolt of confidence throughout the club. The big names came through as captain Nico Hischier collected one goal and three assists and Jack Hughes had one and two, respectively, but the supporting cast was represented with defensemen Brendan Smith and Kevin Bahl also scoring a goal.

“One thing we’ve talked about is we’ve struggled for those timely goals,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “To get a lot of different guys on the scoreboard is important. You feel good.”

The Ducks will kick off a five-game homestand after snapping a three-game winless skid with a 6-4 victory over the host Sharks on Thursday night.

And the win was extra special for former Devils player Adam Henrique, who recorded one goal and two assists in the first game since become a father for a second time earlier this week.

“It was a special few days for us at home and for our family,” Henrique told Bally Sports West. “You want to try and get on the board in games after the little ones come, and fortunately, I’ve been able to do that for Blake and now Sophia. It’s pretty special, pretty happy about, and hopefully we can turn that into some kind of streak.”

Just before the puck dropped, the Ducks completed a trade that sent veteran defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a third-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft. More strain was put on the remaining defensemen when Cam Fowler was hit in the face by a puck in the opening minute and left the game.

“I think everybody stepped up and played their role,” said Radko Gudas, who logged more than 28 minutes of ice time. “It was to make smart and early decisions and the right play with the puck. I think it was a great effort for the whole group.”

That effort added up to a six-goal outing, the most for Anaheim since a seven-goal performance against the Philadelphia Flyers in late October.

“It was a good response,” Henrique said of his team’s ability to deal with the adversity. “Our ‘D’ did a great job battling through being short, and guys stepped up when we needed them to. We got big goals at key times. … We have to try and roll that into (Friday) night.”

–Field Level Media

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