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Metropolitan Division’s Sidney Crosby, right, of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is congratulated by NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly after being named the Most Valuable Player of the NHL hockey All-Star Game in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The Metropolitan Division defeated the Central Division 10-5 in the final. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Metropolitan Division’s Sidney Crosby, right, of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is congratulated by NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly after being named the Most Valuable Player of the NHL hockey All-Star Game in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The Metropolitan Division defeated the Central Division 10-5 in the final. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)|Associated Press
NHL

NHL: Back on the Ice Monday after the Break

Devils-Penguins / Jets-Flyers

Craig Dietel

Craig Dietel

After what seems like a very looong NHL All-Star Break, we are back with a pair of Monday gems . . .

Devils (18-23-7) +200 at Penguins (26-16-6) -240, 7 p.m.
Pick:
Penguins -240

The Devils make the trip out to Pittsburgh to take on Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in their third meeting of the season. Their first two games against the NHL’s favorite team went very well. On Nov. 5 they won 5-1, as Brian Boyle scored his first career hat trick, and eight days later they won, 4-2. They would be hard pressed to keep that up.

New Jersey is still without their star player F Taylor Hall, out of the lineup due to a lower body injury. Stud rookie goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood is not currently called up with the big club since he appeared in the AHL All Star Competitions Sunday, so even he can’t steal this game for the Devils. It’ll be up to G Keith Kinkaid, who’s been struggling as of late, and the rest of the Devils to try and pull out an unlikely win. (Did we mention the Devils have dropped their last three, are 3-7-0 in their last 10 and tied for last in the league with 43 points?)

The Penguins on the other end of things have calmed down since their great win streak earlier this month but are still a force to be reckoned with. They have a healthy roster, home ice advantage and Crosby has got to feel good after winning a car and splitting $1 million after the Metropolitan Division won the All Star Game on Sunday.

Jets (31-15-2) -130 at Flyers (19-23-6) +110, 7 p.m.
Pick: Jets -130

Philly is only one point removed from last place in the league while the Jets are playing like a well-oiled machine. The Flyers’ only hope may be that Winnipeg spends all game gawking at Gritty.

The Jets are 7-3-0 in their last 10 and are looking to maintain control of the Central Division over the Predators. The two teams are tied, but the Jets have four games in hand. They will make three of those up -- at Philly, at Boston and home against Columbus -- before the Predators pick up their post-break schedule Friday.

Philly has stumbled most of the season but showed some offensive power before the break. The Flyers have played up to their better opponents at times this season. That’s exactly what they would need to do here.