Tonight the Devils first preseason under coach John Hynes continues with a game against the Rangers. This game will be the Devils second in as many days after taking on the Bruins last night in Rhode Island.
The Time: 7:00 PM EDT
The Broadcast: TV - MSG & MSG+
The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils at the New York Rangers (SBN Blog: Blueshirt Banter)
The Last Devils Game: The Devils lost 2-0 to the Bruins last night in their preseason opener. As John's recap pointed out, the Devils struggled on the power play and with discipline. They actually got off to a solid start at even strength with some decent scoring chances and pressure in the offensive zone. However, what seemed like non-stop penalties from both sides eventually broke the flow of the game and the Devils seemed to fade away. It certainly didn't help that their power play had trouble gaining the zone, setting up, and getting shots off. Considering they are just a few days into camp and haven't practiced it yet, it would be unfair to be too critical of the players. After all, these early preseason games are more about conditioning than tactical execution. The good news is that players like Kyle Palmieri, John Quenneville, and Pavel Zacha put on solid performances. Coach John Hynes was happy with what he saw out of Quenneville and Zacha.
The Last Rangers Game: This is the opening game of the preseason for the Rangers.
Possible Devils Forwards: We already know that the players that played in last night's game won't feature tonight. Based on the training camp roster, that leaves us with 20 healthy forwards available for selection. If yesterday's first practice group is any indication, we could see the line of Mike Cammalleri - Travis Zajac - Jiri Tlusty make their debut. I'd also expect to see Tyler Kennedy who is trying to earn a contract get in this game. Yesterday, he practiced on a line with Jim O'Brien and Stefan Matteau. Stephen Gionta and Jordin Tootoo who were regulars for the Devils last season are also strong candidates to appear tonight. After that there are some AHL players to choose from such as Rod Pelley, Ben Thomson, Mike Sislo, or Graham Black. Perhaps we will see prospects like Blake Coleman, Ryan Kujawinski, Blake Pietila, Connor Chatham, or Blake Speers. Alexandre Goulet who is in camp trying to earn an ELC could also be on the radar to get into the starting line up for this game.
Possible Devils Defensemen: Using the limited information available at this moment, it seems like we may see the pairing of Andy Greene and Adam Larsson make their preseason debut tonight. John Moore is then the only established NHL player left on the list which seems to indicate he will play as well. Perhaps we will see two or three of Raman Hrabarenka, Marc-Andre Gragnani, and Vojtech Mozik as they compete for a spot with New Jersey. If not, AHL veterans like Brandon Burlon and Dan Kelly are available as are prospects Joshua Jacobs and Ryan Rehill.
The Devils Goaltenders: After last night's game, Tom Gulitti tweeted that Cory Schneider and Yann Danis will split goaltending duties in tonight's game. This will be Schneider's first appearance of the preseason and he will look to play half of the game. He has already mentioned that he plans on playing 3.5 games this preseason. Danis will look to make a good impression as he tries to earn the starting job in Albany. He makes his return to the Devils organization, having spent the 2009-10 season in New Jersey where he appeared in 12 games with a .923 SV%. Since that season he has spent a year in the KHL and most of the last 4 seasons in the AHL with a few NHL appearances mixed in.
The Rangers Line-Up: The official New York Rangers twitter account announced which players are expected to appear in their opening preseason game. Bryan Winters has this breakdown at Blueshirt Banter:
Forwards: Brian Gibbons, Tanner Glass, Luke Adam, Jesper Fast, Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Jayson Megna, Oscar Lindberg, Viktor Stalberg, Dominic Moore, Ryan Bourque, Marek Hrivik
Defense: Dylan McIlrath, Dan Boyle, Raphael Diaz, Chris Summers, Brady Skjei, Keith Yandle
Goaltenders: Antti Raanta, Magnus Hellberg
It's still early in training camp which means players are getting up to game speed and used to playing with each other. A new coaching staff and system to learn means the Devils aren't going to be a well oiled machine - which is fine at this moment in time. Hopefully this group of players can run a PP better and stay disciplined. Which players do you hope to see tonight? What are you looking for out of these players? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!