The Phoenix Coyotes will look to get their six-game road trip started off right when they head to New Jersey for a tilt with the struggling Devils. The Coyotes come in well-rested, having played just two games in just over a week, and none since Saturday, while New Jersey also comes in not having played since their pair of games over the weekend.
The Coyotes' recent success is certainly a contrast of the Devils. Coming into the season considered a Cup favorite, the Devils have struggled mightily, having not won a game since November 27th. On the season, they have just 18 points, good for 14th in the Eastern Conference.
Much of that goes back to the struggles of veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur. The future Hall-of-Famer is enduring one of the worst starts of his career, with just a 4-12-1 record, and last having won a game on November 12th. His .897 save percentage is as bad as it has been in his career, and his 2.83 GAA is also a career "high".
It isn't as if he's getting much help from his offense to bail him out, either. The Devils are near the bottom of the league in offensive output, netting just 1.76 goals per. It doesn't help with the slew of injuries, including Olympian Zach Parise, as well as the fact that since getting big money from the Devils, Ilya Kovalchuk has put up numbers that rival Paul Bissonnette, rather than the league's best.
The Devils' woes on offense won't get much easier on Wednesday night. They are facing a group of Coyotes blueliners that has improved seemingly on a nightly basis. This is especially true for Keith Yandle, who is in the middle of a four-game point streak. With 18 points (also more than Kovalchuk), Yandle is on pace to easily eclipse his career high of 41, set last year.
As if facing a stingy Coyotes defense wasn't bad news enough for New Jersey, they'll be facing a goaltender in Ilya Bryzgalov who has allowed more than two goals just twice in his last eight, including two shutouts over that span.
The Coyotes have an overwhelmingly favorable matchup when they hit the ice at the Prudential Center on Wednesday night. Phoenix's ability to strike with almost anyone on the ice, life could be very difficult for Martin Brodeur and the reeling Devils.