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New Jersey Devils Take on Buffalo, Boston in 2016 Prospect Challenge

The New Jersey Devils will take part in the 2016 Prospect Challenge with Buffalo and Boston. This is a quick preview and open post for the exhibition games.

NHL: Preseason-New Jersey Devils at Boston Bruins
Pavel Zacha returns to the ice for the Devils in a set of exhibition games tonight and tomorrow.
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight and tomorrow, the New Jersey Devils will technically be in action ahead of training camp and preseason. Those Devils: prospects. The Devils are participating in a the 2016 Prospect Challenge up in Buffalo with the Sabres (tonight) and the Boston Bruins (tomorrow).

The bad news: this event won’t be streamed or aired. The good news: According to the Albany Devils’ Twitter account, there will be a live audio stream on WGR 550’s website at 7 PM. I do not know if this will include tomorrow’s game, but it’s better than nothing.

Also thanks to the Albany Devils’ Twitter account, there are lineups available for tonight’s game:

This is an enticing set of forward lines. Each of that first line, John Quenneville-Pavel Zacha-Nick Lappin, may end up in New Jersey at some point in the season. It’s an exciting line on paper. Hopefully, they’ll be able to Speaking of potential New Jersey Devils, Joseph Blandisi (likely) and Blake Pietila (maybe in spots) will skate with the Devils’ 2016 first-round draft pick, Michael McLeod. I’m particularly interested in how Blake Coleman performs. He started off last season well before a shoulder injury ended 2015-16 early for him. He’ll skate with Miles Wood and 2016 second-round draft pick Nathan Bastien. The fourth line has AHL-signee Kevin Rooney centering Blake Speers and Brandon Gignac. They should be more than an “energy” line.

Behind the forwards, it appears three invitees join three draftees on defense. Steve Santini should draw your interest. We’ll see if Colton White and Josh Jacobs warrant some good attention too. In net, Evan Cormier and Ken Appleby will split time. Expect to see MacKenzie Blackwood tomorrow. According to the Albany Devils’ PR Twitter account, the plan is that all three goalies will get two periods. All three goalies will get some minutes. I suspect the scratched skaters will also play tomorrow as well.

As nice as it would be to win both games, the whole point of this event is to get some guys on the ice, see how they perform, and help start their evaluation ahead of training camp beginning in this coming week. Winning or losing does not matter much. They’re exhibition games.

9/17: Devils 6, Buffalo 3

From the Devils’ PR Twitter account, here’s the gamesheet:

From what little I’ve heard on the radio, the game was played at a brisk pace. Plenty of whistles and physical play early on, but they went away. The game’s play by play and color guy were both favoring Buffalo, but they had plenty of good things to say about the Devils’ forwards. Namely that as the game went on, the Devils’ lines were working well with each other and shut the game down for Buffalo. Not just the fourth line - which combined for three goals, two by Brandon Gignac and one by Blake Speers - but all four. Blake Coleman, Nathan Bastien, and John Quenneville were the other scorers, helping show that point about all four lines coming together. The scoring escalated for New Jersey as Buffalo only had Nicholas Baptiste lighting the lamp. He had a hat trick; he was clearly good tonight. Buffalo’s top line of Evan Rodrigues, Georgio Estephan, and Alex Nylander had plenty of chances early on; but the Devils were able to withstand them.

The next game is against Boston. Maybe this one will be broadcast on the radio too? We’ll see.

9/17 Update on 9/18: Hey, here’s the video of the entire Devils-Sabres prospect challenge game. It’s about an hour long:

Should you listen along live - or if you’re at the games live - then please use the comment section to discuss what goes on. Should there be any information, then look for an update to this post (unless it gets rather popular and a second post is needed for the Boston game.) Site rules apply as always. Go Devils and good luck!