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Preseason Game Preview #3: New Jersey Devils at New York Islanders

Right after the New Jersey Devils crushed the New York Rangers, 7-1, the Devils will go to Connecticut to play the New York Islanders. This brief game preview gives a general overview of both team’s recent preseason play.

New Jersey Devils v New York Islanders
The last Devils-Isles game featured this spill onto Mackenzie Blackwood.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils at the New York Islanders (SBN Blog: Lighthouse Hockey) in Bridgeport, CT

The Time: 2:00 PM ET

The Broadcast: Video - The Devils’ official website will have a stream. Audio - The Devils Hockey Network (Radio.com)

The Opposition

Against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, the Islanders ran the following lines:

Beauvillier – Raty – Palmieri

Panik – Czarnik – Wahlstrom

Dal Colle – Koivula – Golyshev

Andreoff – Bardreau – Johnston

Pelech – Dobson

Wotherspoon – Aho

Salo – LaDue

Schneider

During warmups, Islanders beat reporter Andrew Gross had Panik on the fourth line and Johnston up on the second. So far, Gross confirmed that Oliver Wahlstrom will be playing despite a less than stellar performance so far this preseason. Not much else has been reported ahead of this game. Matt Martin is still out with an injury, which leaves a hole in the fourth line they need to look into filling, at least temporarily. Semyon Varlamov is still out as well.

On Sunday they ran:

Panik – Nelson – Bailey

Johnston – Czikas – Clutterbuck

Bellows – Raty – Komarov

Andreoff – MacLean – Holmstrom

Gustafsson – Pulock

Salo – Mayfield

Hickey – Hutton

Sorokin

There could be a mix of the two given the long layoff between preseason games.

The Devils

Our lines last night against the New York Rangers, where they won big 7-1, looked like this:

Vesey – Mercer – Boqvist

De Leo – McLeod – Thompson

Wood – Hischier – Holtz

Tatar – Zacha - Kuokkanen

White – Hamilton

Graves – Subban

Vukojevic - Groleau

Bernier

Daws

However, Amanda Stein noted last night on Twitter that the coaching staff has already made several cuts to the roster, so I expect at least a few changes for today. Also, Stein reported that Mackenzie Blackwood is expected to be the starter for this afternoon’s game. Between cuts and the Devils playing last night, today’s roster could be very different looking.

Who to Watch

The first person I’ll be keeping my eyes on today is Mackenzie Blackwood. During his last presser he mentioned he had ankle surgery during the offseason that he is ‘still coming back from’, so I’m keeping my eyes peeled to see if his performance seems hindered by it. Starting the season off with our main goaltender hindered by two medical issues would not be the ideal start to the season I’m hoping for this year.

I’m also keeping my eyes on Dawson Mercer if he plays a third straight game. The kid has excelled so far this preseason, and not only is it just fun to watch, but I also want to get a read on if it looks like he’s ready for the big leagues just yet. He seems to have good chemistry with his linemates already and he’s impressed veteran teammates like Dougie Hamilton. That could spell good news for our roster as well as Mercer for this season.

Your Take

Who do you expect to see on the bench today? Whose performance will you pay attention to today? Leave your thoughts and predictions in the comments, and thanks for reading!