After losing their winning streak in a defeat to the Toronto Maple Leafs last week, the New Jersey Devils have jumped right back on the horse, taking home three more victories in recent days. The club is 19-4 on the year, and a huge part of that is due to allowing so few goals.
The Devils defense corps has been outstanding, with something of an unlikely lynchpin in newcomer John Marino. The 25-year-old has just eight points in 23 games but manages to tilt the ice in his team’s favor despite extremely tough deployment. New Jersey has outscored their opponents 21-8 at even-strength with Marino on the ice, even though he starts more shifts in the defensive zone than the offensive.
That’s why it’s such a big deal when the team announces Marino isn’t practicing today and is out with an upper-body injury. While he is considered day-to-day, it is a critical loss for the Devils.
Kevin Bahl is expected to slot into the lineup in his place should Marino be unable to go tomorrow against the Nashville Predators. Luckily, if you can call it that, the Devils do have an easier stretch coming up, with games against the struggling Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks.