By Dave Turner
Finally, after months of waiting, the Devils play their home opener.
Should be a great crowd and an even better game, as the Flyers are coming in with a vengeance.
Some Thoughts On The Game:
1. The Flyers need this one, badly. They dropped their first two games of the season against the Penguins and the Sabres, so falling to 0-3-0 on the year, especially with the 48 game season, would be tough. Flyers players have talked openly about the fact that this is almost like a playoff game for them. I would expect Philadelphia to come out hard in the first few minutes and try to get an early goal and erase the memory of their two losses.
2. This is a great opportunity to see what the Devils are made of. This is a game against a divisional rival, who is still bitter from last years five game destruction in the playoffs and are in desperate need of a win. This is exactly the kind of game that the Devils will need to bring their A-game to win and a very good early test. Expect the Flyers to try to put bodies in front of Martin Brodeur and try to bang home some rebounds.
3. Today is another big test for the young players looking to solidify themselves on the team. As we mentioned earlier in the week, Stefan Matteau needs to perform or else he’ll most likely be sent back down to his junior team after the fifth game of the season. Mattias Tedenby and Jacob Josefson also have a lot to prove. Tedenby looked great against the Islanders, using his speed and great stick handling skill. He had a few chances at lighting the lamp and he assisted on David Clarkson’s game winning goal. For Tedenby, the biggest thing with him has been consistency. Can he continue to play disciplined hockey and resist the urge to press if the goals aren’t coming quite yet?
4. The power play needs to get going. Under coach Shaw, the Devils power play is designed to get more pucks at the net and allow for more chances at rebounds and easy put backs. The Flyers are a team known for taking penalties, so you could see the man-advantage upwards of four times tonight. The PP was dreadful against the Islanders and needs to get better, quickly. Marek Zidlicky was brought in here to be a power play quarterback and he needs to start filling that role. Even if they don’t score tonight on the man-advantage they MUST show better ability to gain the zone, cycle the puck and get rubber towards the net.
5. Enjoy the game and the pregame festivities. We’ve waited a long time for tonight. I for one, am beyond pumped to be sitting in section 118 tonight. The Eastern Conference Champions banner is already in the rafters and i’m sure there will be a video montage, highlighting the run to the Stanley Cup Finals last season. It’s a new season now and time to forget about Zach Parise and the Steve Bernier penalty that has been a source of frustration for some fans. Don’t boo Bernier. He was a catalyst and a major part of the Devils run and his penalty should not be used as blame for the series loss. Enjoy the game!
Prediction: Flyers 4 Devils 2
I think the Flyers are a desperate team and will play as such. It will be close, perhaps tied into the third period, but I think the Flyers will find a way to get it done tonight, despite a strong effort from the Devils. The Brick City Boys will need to put more than two pucks in the net tonight if they hope to win.
Devils Lines for tonight: (same as Islanders game)
Line 1: Dainius Zubrus-Travis Zajac-Ilya Kovalchuk
Line 2: Mattias Tedenby-Patrik Elias-David Clarkson
Line 3: Ryan Carter-Stephen Gionta-Steve Bernier
Line 4: Stefan Matteau-Jacob Josefson-Cam Jansseen
Bryce Salvador-Marek Zidlicky
Andy Greene-Mark Fayne
Henrik Tallinder-Anton Volchenkov
Starting Goaltender: Martin Brodeur
We will be live-blogging the game on our site. The link will go up about a half hour before game time and we’ll tweet and facebook post it around then as well. Come in, talk about the team and have fun!
Tweet us your predicted score @DevilsInsiders before the puck drops.