The Time: 7:00 PM EDT
The Broadcast: TV - MSG & MSG Plus, Radio - 660 AM WFAN
The Last Devils Game: The Devils fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in both clubs' season openers by a score of 3-0. Adam Henrique missed a penalty shot opportunity (the first of his career), there was definite rust, and Cory Schneider didn't see the same incredible results he saw in the preseason.
Of the positives, Damien Brunner had eight shots and the penalty kill was flawless - the Penguins didn't even get a shot off with the man advantage, though there was only one 5-on-4 situation. On the negative side, Marek Zidlicky passed on a wide open net and the team was shut out in a season opener for the second time in team history despite eight shots from Damien Brunner.
For a full recap of the game, check out John's post from last night here.
The Last Islanders Game: This is the Islanders first game of the season. In their final preseason game including their top players, the Islanders beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2. Johan Sundstrom had two goals and the Moulson, Tavares, Okposo line contributed another two goals. Justin Johnson had the other Islanders goal. Here is a recap of that game on the Islanders website.
This is the Islanders first game of the season, so they will be anxious and roaring to go. This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on how the Devils come out for the game. In the second game of a back-to-back, the Devils need to match the Islanders energy, and take advantage of any jitters they may have to starting the season.
The Islanders have a lot of talented forwards. Keeping the likes of Tavares, Moulson, Okposo, and co. contained will be vital. The Islanders are also full of young, speedy forwards. That may not be the easiest for the older, slower Devils defense to hold off.
Speaking of defense, will Mark Fayne get his season debut this evening? There are many defenders who failed to impress in Pittburgh, so he may get a shot. Marek Zidlicky missed a wide open net, took an unnecessary penalty, and gave up an odd-man rush in the second period. While facing the toughest competition, Andy Greene and Adam Larsson were on the ice for the first and third goals against. Anton Volchenkov was caught playing catch-up and made numerous mistakes. John goes into much more detail about the defensive woes last night in his recap with a well-earned vent about Zidlicky. Like John, I wouldn't mind seeing Fayne replace either Volchenkov or Zidlicky.
On the other side of things, the Devils forwards need to step up and put the puck in the net. Brunner wasn't afraid to shoot the puck, and Ryan Clowe had a great opportunity at the end of the game last night, but now they need to finish. Patrik Elias and Jaromir Jagr didn't do much in Pittsburgh - hopefully they'll impress in front of the home crowd. Both were dusting off the rust after missing some of (or all of, in Jagr's case) the preseason and may come out stronger tonight. Like on defense, the Devils have a few options at forward if DeBoer wants to give Josefson or Olesz a chance (Tedenby is still on IR).
There will be one definite change in the lineup tonight - Martin Brodeur will make his season debut. It will be interesting to see his performance after a less than stellar preseason. He has had some extra time to cope with the passing of his father and he seems to be looking forward to getting back on the ice for a game.
The Devils get the chance to get right back at it after a disappointing season opener. With the crowd on their side and a bit of rust shaken off, hopefully the result will be different than last night. The team didn't show much of anything in the first period, and then picked up the pace and outshot the Penguins in the second and third period. New Jersey needs to come out from start to finish tonight to take out the Islanders.
What would you like to see differently from the performance in Pittsburgh? Would you change the lineup in any way? How can the Devils keep the Islanders top guns off of the score sheet? Do you feel comfortable with Brodeur in net? Please leave your thoughts on the game tonight in the comments section below. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the game whether you are at The Rock or elsewhere!