Game 1: New Jersey Devils vs. New York Islanders – #HockeyIsBack

New Jersey Devils vs New York Islanders

Game Time: 7:00 PM
TV: MSG +2
Radio: WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM

Well, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen hockey, 221 days to be exact, but tonight is the first night of our quest for our fourth Stanley Cup! Last season was a season none of us will forget for a long time. A seven game series versus Florida in which we saw multiple overtimes and heroes emerge, to domination of the Philadelphia Flyers and finally getting that monkey off our backs against our rival New York Rangers with an overtime goal by Adam Henrique, to a run at the Stanley Cup versus the Los Angeles Kings.  Yes folks, it’s something you’ll never forget. You will always remember where you were when Henrique scored that overtime winner…but enough about last season.  We have a new season to talk about here and tonight, Game 1 versus the New York Islanders!

Tonight’s match-up will be the first of five games.  Last season the Devils won four of the six games so hopefully they can continue that trend this season.  When the Devils take the ice tonight, it’ll be the first time without Zach Parise on the roster. While many have written him off, it’ll be hard to replace his 31 goals, but it’s one in which the Devils will need to when they step out onto the ice tonight.  The Devils have already moved on naming Bryce Salvador as the 10th captain in Devils history.

New Jersey Devils

Offense:

The Devils offense begins and ends with Ilya Kovalchuk.  He finished 5th in the NHL in scoring last year with 37 goals and 46 assists. However he cannot do it all alone, therefore he will have to count on contributions from veterans like Patrik Elias and the newly re-signed Travis Zajac to pick up the slack.  Zajac missed almost all of last season when he tore his Achilles tendon over the summer, but returned just prior to the start of the playoffs. He scored 7 goals and 7 assists during the second season, including the overtime winner against the Panthers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals. With his new 8 year contract, the pressure will be on Travis to live up to it. At 36 years old, Elias is showing no signs of slowing down, with 26 goals and 52 assists last year and 5 more goals in the playoffs. They are the men to carry the Devils offense right now. No one can expect David Clarkson to score 30 goals again, however he could probably chip in with about 15. Adam Henrique will have to wait to build on his impressive rookie season as he starts the season on injured reserve after surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. He should be ready to go by early February.

Defense:

The no name defense, something you never thought you’d hear about the Devils, is actually once again strength for this team. While there are no flashy names like Stevens or Daneyko or Niedermayer, new Captain, Bryce Salvador, Andy Greene and Anton Volchenkov are as solid as they come. 2nd year Defenseman, Adam Larsson will hopefully take a huge step in development after finishing 5th in scoring amongst rookie defenseman. Rounding out the D is Marek Zidlicky, acquired at the trade deadline, Mark Fayne and Henrik Tallinder, who can hopefully stay healthy after missing half of last season with a blood clot.

Goalies:

Our goalie tandem may be aging, but they show no signs of slowing down whatsoever.  Future hall of famer, Martin Brodeur will be back in goal for his 18th straight start with the same team, extending another NHL Record.  Brodeur finished the regular season with a 31-21-4 record, 3 shutouts and a 2.41 GAA.  Not one of Marty’s better seasons, but he was good enough to get us to the Stanley Cup Finals.  Brodeur’s back-up, Johan Hedberg is no slouch though.  When called upon, he stepped up and did what he needed to do. With a 17-7-2 record, 4 shutouts and a 2.23 GAA, Hedberg was one of the better back-ups we’ve had in a while and in a shortened season, hopefully this aging goalie tandem can keep up the strong play of last season.

New York Islanders

Now to the Islanders…the most exciting news for them after the end of their season was that they would be moving to the Barclay’s Center by the 2015-2016 season.  The Islanders haven’t made the postseason since 2007 and have finished last in the Atlantic Division ever since.  While John Tavares continues to shine, the Islanders have made some changes to their roster for this season.  They signed Brad Boyes, a former 40 goal scorer, but lost PA Parenteau who had 18 goals and 49 assists.  They also added defensemen Joe Finley and Thomas Hickey and forward Keith Aucoin on waivers.

Kyle Okposo has not lived up to his first round draft status since being drafted in 2007, but the Islanders are hoping that with him joining Tavares and Matt Moulson, he’ll be able to kick start his season.  Okposo had a career best 24 goals last season, but in order for the Islanders to start off right, they’ll need him to keep up with this pace again this season.

As far as the Islanders goalie situation goes, it’s always anyone’s guess how long Rick DiPietro will last! DiPietro hasn’t played more than 8 games since the 2007-2008season and certainly hasn’t lived up to his massive contract he received in 2006 when the Islanders signed him for 15 years at $67.5 million.  With the NHL offering amnesty buyouts, everyone has been wondering if he might be on the top of the list, but so far, the Islanders are sticking with him at least for right now.  Tonight DiPietro will actually be backing up veteran Evgeni Nabokov. At 37 years old, Nabokov put up a respectable season last year, going 19-18-3 with a 2.55 GAA. He will provide the only stability in net on a team that has FIVE goalies on the roster!

Well, at 7pm tonight the New Jersey Devils are back.  We all know what happened last time there was a 48 game season, and hopefully this season ends with the same outcome!  LET’S DROP THE PUCK ALREADY!!

LET’S GO DEVILS!!!

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Posted on January 19, 2013, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, Game Preview, New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Devils Fans, NHL, Social Media and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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