Time: 7 PM EST TV: MSG+ 2 Radio: 660 AM WFAN
Milestones: Martin Brodeur to play 1,000th NHL game. Opening ceremony of Championship Plaza at 2 PM.
The games start to count now and they couldn't start of any bigger than the first two for the Devils: New Jersey's most hated rivals at the Rock. Tonight, it's the lesser of the two most hated rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flyers certainly got off to the right start to their season. They defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 on the road, with Ray Emery earning his first shutout in his re-debut in the NHL. Emery has been solid as you can get in net in preseason, so he's definitely feeling good. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter got the power play goals (and very quickly in the second period on a double minor) to re-establish that, yes, they are great players and that, yes, Philadelphia is very good on special teams.
It's a Flyers weakness that the Devils would do well to exploit. The Flyers are traveling up to the Rock and I doubt the team will suddenly become more disciplined in less than 24 hours. So I hope Jacques Lemaire will emphasize the Devils to play up on the forecheck. According to this post by Gulitti yesterday, Lemaire has been tinkering with the forecheck - though the Devils are still learning it. Which is understandable to a point, it is the first game of the regular season, not everyone is going to be sharp and in mid-season form already. Based on what I saw in the offseason, he's definitely not teaching the forechecker to hold back. So I think the Devils will be able to get plenty of power play chances. I don't think I need to say that it'll be important to convert on a few of them.
Which makes tonight's game all the more exciting, in my opinion. Check out Broad Street Hockey later on for the opposition's perspective. I'll be at the Rock in my usual seat (Sec. 1, Row 16, Seat 5) and I invite all of you to cheer on the world-class hockey team that we call the New Jersey Devils. Be it at the Rock, in front of your TV, while listening to the radio, and/or here when the GameThread goes up. Go Devils!