Blackhawks look to be-Devil New Jersey to start East Coast swing

Cruising on a 6-game winning streak, the Blackhawks (18-8-1) head to the northeast this week to face the Devils, Bruins, and Islanders.

The New Jersey Devils (11-13-4; 26 points) current sit outside the playoff picture in the East. They're not bad enough to be in the "Connor McDavid sweepstakes", but they're not exactly breathing down the necks of the 8th place team (Florida, 11-8-7, 29 points, 2 games in hand over NJ).

On Monday night, Jaromir Jagr, 42, played in his 1,500th NHL game - only the 15th player in NHL history to do so. In that game, he had a goal and assist to bring his career total to move into 5th place in the NHL all-time points list. Jagr paces the Devils with a team-leading 17 points (5G, 12A). Surprisingly, in all his years in the NHL, Jagr has faced the Blackhawks only 27 times - that's just 1.8% of the games he's played.

Goalie Cory Schneider (11-12-3, .918 sv%, 2.50 GAA) played last night. Although he's gotten most of the Devils' starts, his backup, Scott Clemmensen, has not played well (0-0-1 in 3GP; .852 sv%, 4.71 GAA), so it is very likely to see Schneider in net on Tuesday night versus the Blackhawks. Schneider has not allowed more than 2 even-strength goals in his past eight games, so the Devils will want to avoid the power play, where Chicago has had steady success lately.

The Blackhawks are playing extremely well, and will be welcoming Patrick Sharp back to the lineup; he is expected to play on the third line.

In light of Sharp's return, a player will have to return to Rockford - or, potentially, be traded. Reports have spread this week that winger Jeremy Morin has asked to either get regular play or be traded; if he gets sent down to Rockford, he'll be exposed to waivers.

Last season, Chicago swept their two games versus New Jersey by a combined score of 10-5. The Devils average just 26.4 SOG/game (29th) and 2.32 G/G (23rd); they will be challenged to contain the Blackhawks' high-flying offense, which has pounded opponents with an average 35.8 SOG/game.


- Patrick Sharp returns for the Blackhawks this week. Corey Crawford remains out.

- For New Jersey, the injury list is long: Ryane Clowe, Travis Zajac, Bryce Salvador, Patrik Elias (D2D), Mike Cammalleri (D2D), Adam Larsson (flu).


Game time: 7pm Eastern / 6pm Central
Where to watch: CSN-Chicago; MSG+; Radio: WGN 720 Chicago