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Preseason Game Preview #2: New Jersey Devils vs. New York Islanders

A home game!

New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/NHLI via Getty Images

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils versus the New York Islanders. SBN Blog: Lighthouse Hockey

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: TV: MSGSN (formerly MSG+). Out-of-market: ESPN+

Who May Play Tonight

Last night, the Devils won 2-1 against the Montreal Canadiens. Matthew recapped that game. The roster in Montreal featured top players such as Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, Damon Severson, and Ryan Graves. NHLers from last season, including Tomas Tatar and Andreas Johnsson, were also featured in the lineup and factored into both goals by the Devils. In goal, Mackenzie Blackwood and Nico Daws split the game.

Given that, we can expect to see a different group of players in the game tonight. I expect Jack Hughes to be on the ice with Ondrej Palat and Alexander Holtz - as the team seemed to like this line in earlier scrimmages. Brendan Smith and Erik Haula should be making their first appearances in red and black - as may Thomas Hickey, who is on a PTO. What I am looking forward to most is Simon Nemec. Nemec missed the Slovakian get-together last night, but the Devils may rather he get his first taste of NHL (preseason) game action at home.

On the goaltending side of things, Vitek Vanecek should be making his preseason debut for the team. I hope to see Jonathan Bernier, who has been recovering from a long-term hip injury, back him up tonight. The Devils would be in a very good place, for once, if they had three or four passable goaltenders. Bernier returning to the ice and continuing to be a solid goalie would take a lot of pressure off of Blackwood to stay healthy.

The New York Islanders

The Islanders opened up their preseason with a loss to the New York Rangers. Given their roster last night, I would not expect Mathew Barzal, Zach Parise, Noah Dobson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Alexander Romanov, Oliver Wahlstrom, or Anders Lee in the lineup. As Semyon Varlamov and Jakub Skarek shared the net for the Islanders, I anticipate seeing Ilya Sorokin tonight. Additional goalies that may make an appearance tonight include former Devils Cory Schneider and Ken Appleby, in addition to Tristan Lennox and Henrik Tikkanen.

Not that I am rooting, in any sense of the word, for the Islanders to do well, I do wonder if Kyle Palmieri begins a more complete resurgence tonight. As Devils fans know, Palmieri lost his scoring touch a bit when he began to lose his physical edge. His scoring ticked up at the end of last season, but he is not yet close to how good he was in New Jersey. Palmieri should be in the lineup tonight.

Concluding Thoughts

I was not able to watch the game last night, so I am happy that I will be able to see the Devils play tonight. Since there is only one broadcast for tonight’s game, I am sure that MSG will do one of those forsaken split booth broadcasts, in which we will have to listen to one of the Islanders broadcasters alongside Bill Spaulding and Ken Daneyko. I would hope that MSG gives Spaulding a clean booth that he can get his footing in, but that might be too much to ask. I would be even more annoyed if it were an Islanders-led broadcast, though.

Who are you most excited to see hit the ice tonight? Simon Nemec? Alexander Holtz? Jack Hughes? Is there anyone on the camp roster you are still hoping makes enough of an impact to make the roster? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and thanks for reading.

If I see any information regarding the roster, lineup, or broadcast for tonight, it will be updated here.

11:00 AM Update:

It looks like we have lines.

As expected, Palat, Hughes, and Holtz are playing tonight. I am surprised, personally, that Mercer is playing wing rather than centering Sharangovich and Zetterlund (which would be a fantastic third line). Thomas Hickey will be playing across from Simon Nemec, which I am not very happy about. Nemec should at least get a game with a current NHL defenseman, but it is what it is. Hopefully, he gets some shifts with Siegenthaler during the game.