The NHL has released the home openers for each team and the Devils announced they will open at home against the Anaheim Ducks on October 18th. While the whole schedule has yet to be announced, teams around the league are releasing their openers and the Devils will provide the home opener for both Florida and Boston.
Although the Devils will open against the Panthers on October 13th, they will have to wait to play their first game at the Prudential Center on October 18th against the Anaheim Ducks, once again starting on the road.
Quick Outlook at Home
While it's certainly early in the off-season, the Devils will have a tough opening week with two of their games coming against playoff teams in Anaheim and Florida. Anaheim, who many expected to be Cup favorites fell in the first round of the playoffs to the Nashville Predators. This game should provide some excitement for the fans as it pits Kyle Palmieri against his former team and provides a tough test for New Jersey early in the season.
Quick Outlook on the Road
Although the team plays Anaheim on October 18th, the Panthers announced that the team will first go on the road to Florida to play the Panthers, a playoff team who lost in the first round to the Islanders. While many were surprised with Florida's quick ascent to the top of the Eastern Conference, they proved to be a step below an elite tier with their playoff loss last season.
With Florida, the Devils will play a Panthers team with an emerging number one defenseman in Aaron Ekblad, and a budding two-way center in Aleksander Barkov. In addition to Florida's young stars, they will take on former Devil and NHL legend Jaromir Jagr. This will provide a fun and interesting story-line with an emerging team in Florida under a new General Manager heading in a seemingly new, analytics-based direction.
The other team the Devils play on the road as the home opener is the Boston Bruins on October 20th, as reported by Amalie Benjamin. The Bruins, who are in a similar position as the Devils and while they finished higher in the standings, they failed to make the playoffs under the direction of former Devils' coach Claude Julien. The Bruins, who traded Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic last offseason regressed last year and will look to rebound, starting with the Devils at home.
Will you be attending the home opener? If so, how do you think the Devils' will play against a Western Conference powerhouse in Anaheim? What moves do you think the Devils will make this offseason in order to be more competitive against these teams? Let us know your thoughts and thank you for reading!