Pregame Primer: Devils vs. Islanders

Devils-islanders

The wait is over… almost.

After months without hockey, the Devils finally get to get back on the ice against a solid Islanders team.

Some thoughts on the game:

1. The Islanders could be a playoff team. They have enough young talent and if they can be decent enough in their own end, they could sneak into the playoffs. I don’t think it’s out of the question to see all five Atlantic Division teams make it.

2. The big guns for both teams will be key. Ilya Kovalchuk had some nice games against the Islanders last year, including a hat-trick. While the Islanders will be trying their best to neutralize the Russian, the Devils will have their hands full with John Tavares. Tavares should be even better this year. They key to this game may be what superstar can break through.

3. The Devils new power play will be unveiled for the first time. Under new coach Matt Shaw, you will see a lot more rubber being thrown at the net. Unlike last year, where the goal was to cycle and get high percentage shots, this power play is aimed at shooting a lot and banging home rebounds.  It will be interesting to how the Devils adapt to this early on and how the Islanders will defend it.

4. How important is this one for the Devils? I’d say it’s very important. The last thing the Devils want to do is lose an opening game where they don’t score many goals, because then the questions of a Stanley Cup hangover and the lack of offensive depth will come front and center.

5. What can be expected from Stefan Matteau? The 18 year old rookie will have to impress quickly if he wants to remain with the team this season. The Devils will have the option of giving him back to his junior team without the season counting towards his NHL contract if he plays only five games. He’ll have to get off to a fast start if he wants to stick around.

Devils Lines for tonight:

Forwards

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

Defensive Pairings:

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. If you guess correctly, you will be entered into a monthly raffle for a Devils related prize!