Gameday Preview: Devils drop in on their old captain

Casey Ippolito
jppariseson

Today in the National Hockey League: Zach Parise’s old mates drop in to see what he’s up to in Minnesota, Calgary goes with a rookie in goal and Ottawa hopes to allow fewer than 50 shots.

Dallas at Ottawa

Last year’s Sens team pulled together through injuries to their stars and established a winning identity based on an air-tight defensive game and unshakable goaltending. This year, they’re allowing over three goals and 38 shots a game. Ottawa’s top forwards are scoring, but shoddy defensive efforts are to blame for the team’s four wins in 14 games. Dallas is getting production from their top dogs, but seek production from Ray Whitney (six assists, no goals) and Sergei Gonchar (one assist). Both clubs have three wins in their past 10 games. Dallas will make stops in Boston and Detroit before returning home.

The Sens take on another Western Conference opponent. (Senators Extra)

Stars are paying big money to too many unproductive players. (Dallas Morning News)

Player to Watch: It’ll be on Erik Karlsson’s shoulders to lead Ottawa’s defense as they look to return to top defensive form. He leads the team with 13 points.

Chicago at Calgary

The Flames recently waived goaltender Joey MacDonald and called up Reto Berra from Abbotsford to replace him. Berra will start tonight. The Flames are again mediocre after a hot start and they play a Hawks team who have lost once in their past 10. Chicago is winning with a balanced attack, having nine players with at least eight points. Calgary trails fifth in their division by six points. Looks like they’ll duke it out with Edmonton in the basement of the Pacific.

Hawks have yet to replace Michael Frolik. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Rough road ahead for Flames. (Calgary Herald)

Player to Watch: 26-year-old Reto Berra makes his NHL debut after years in the Swiss league and only nine games in the AHL.

New Jersey at Minnesota

Zach Parise faces his former team for the first time since signing a 13-year, $98-million contract with the Wild. The Devils lost 1-0 to the Flyers on Saturday, struggling to score yet again. They have the league’s sixth worst goal output, the new reality after watching Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk and David Clarkson skip town.  They desperately need great goaltending to be competitive and they’ll get a boost in that department today with the return of Cory Schneider, who’ll start. In net for the Wild will be Josh Harding, whose .946 save percentage and 1.22 goals-against average lead the league. Patrik Elias, Ryane Clowe and Travis Zajac will all sit with injuries.

Former Devils captain says it will be ‘weird’ facing old club. (NJ.com)

After juggling lines, Wild return to former pairings. (Minnesota Star-Ledger)

Player to Watch: Zach Parise, of course. He led the Devils to the 2011 Stanley Cup final and spent seven seasons in New Jersey. He should be scoring at a pace better than his 10 points in 14 games.