The New Jersey Devils are coming off an uplifting 3-0-1 home stand and a lengthy four-day break in between games. This will be their second matchup of the season against the Florida Panthers, who bested the Devils in their first game of the season 2-1 in overtime. This game will be significant for the Devils in the sense that this is their fourth road game of the season, and they’re still looking for their first road victory. Since these two teams last met, the Devils have made considerable strides in their game. They’ve surmounted some cumbersome scoring obstacles as a team and for individual players, have shown flashes of their secondary scoring outlets kicking in along with being able to score five-on-five, and surpassing that two-goal threshold they were stuck at in their first few contests this season. The Panthers have come out of the gate slow, hovering around the .500 mark and exhibiting some streaky play. After going 3-1-1 to start the year, the Panthers go into tonight’s contest 1-4-0 in their last five matchups, and played four of their last five games on the road. While the Devils are coming off a four-game home stand, the Panthers play the next four of their next five games in Sunrise, Florida, where they’ve had most of their success early on this year. The Devils called up defenseman Vojtech Mozik from the AHL so they can carry seven blue liners on their upcoming road trip, but it’s unknown as of writing this if he’ll make his season debut tonight. It looks like Cory Schneider is slated to get the nod in goal, which will be his eighth start in nine games this season.
Who to watch
Jonathan Marchessault…He was named NHL.com’s third star of the month and currently leads the Panthers in scoring with six goals and 11 points in 10 games. Marchessault scored the last time these two teams met at the beginning of the season, and has seven of his 11 points in Florida’s five home games. He’s proving to be a solid under the radar pickup by Panthers general manager Dale Tallon, and is one of the many Panthers players providing their primary source of offense from unlikely places on the roster.
Michael Cammalleri…It’s only a matter of time before the puck starts going in for Mike Cammalleri. Although he has no goals through his first nine games, it’s not like it can be attributed for his lack of effort. He’s third on the team in shots (second among forwards), and is getting his fair share of five-on-five and power play time. When he’s healthy and on top of his game, Cammalleri can be looked upon as a reliable point-producer, and tends to be very streaky, which is something an offensively slow-starting team like the Devils could sorely use right now.
What to watch
Devils secondary scoring…It looks like the Devils are finally reaching the light at the end of the tunnel if they already haven’t. The last two games the Devils have exhibited flashes of secondary scoring with goals coming from defensemen and 7th-12th forwards like Devante Smith-Pelly. With players like Yohann Auvitu and Beau Bennett putting up high shot totals and having positive shot differentials when they’re on the ice, it looks like the Devils are finally establishing some secondary scoring that will provide the necessary boost to get them over the top.
Discipline, discipline, discipline…One of the main reoccurring issues that have plagued the Devils this year are their frequent trips to the penalty box. A double-minor cost the Devils another late third period lead against the Blackhawks last Friday, and accumulated 13 minutes-worth of penalty minutes on Saturday’s game against the Lightning (despite one being a five minute major). While the Devils issues in this category have largely been a reflection of the team’s struggling possession numbers and inability to keep up with their opponents, now that the team seems to be gelling and playing more in sync with each other, hopefully this is an issue that starts to become less detrimental.
Where to watch
MSG +2 (Local)
When to watch