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For the first time in franchise history, the New Jersey Devils will open their season outside of North America when they face off against the Edmonton Oilers at the Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden. This is New Jersey’s second game in the 2018 Global Series, having come off a preseason overtime win over SC Bern in Switzerland on Monday. The Oilers generated a lot of momentum this preseason, going 6-1—7-1 if you include their 4-3 overtime win over KLH in Cologne, Germany.
New Jersey made a slight roster adjustment after sophomore forward Jesper Bratt was sidelined 2-3 weeks with a broken jaw, signing right wing Drew Stafford to a one-year deal. As of writing this, it’s uncertain whether Stafford will make his season debut today in place of someone like Jean-Sebastian Dea. Keith Kinkaid is expected to start between the pipes against Oilers starter Cam Talbot.
The focus of today’s game will, of course, be the matchup between Hart Trophy winners (and former teammates) Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall. McDavid and the Oilers have bested New Jersey all four times these teams have played since Hall was shipped to New Jersey. The Devils went 0-1-3 against the Oilers since the 2016-2017 season. Over those four games, Hall has one goal and two points, while McDavid has tallied seven assists.
Keys to Victory
Containing McDavid…Although they’re all assists, McDavid still set up seven goals against the Devils, and is the sole figure Edmonton’s offense is centered around. Shutting him down by any means necessary is integral for this Devils team if they want to snap their winless spell against the Oilers. Nonetheless, don’t hold it against him if McDavid does something amazing.
Can Kinkaid pick up where he left off…? As we all fondly remember, one of the reasons why New Jersey made their unprecedented playoff appearance was the performance of Keith Kinkaid, who went 22-7-1 in his last 30 starts. With goaltender Cory Schneider recovering from surgery, Kinkaid will be looked upon to give the Devils a chance in net until the Devils starter returns.
For New Jersey…
Taylor Hall – Nico Hischier – Kyle Palmieri;
Marcus Johansson – Pavel Zacha – Stefan Noesen;
Miles Wood – Travis Zajac – John Quenneville;
Blake Coleman – Brian Boyle – Jean-Sebastien Dea.
Mirco Mueller – Sami Vatanen;
Andy Greene – Damon Severson;
Will Butcher – Ben Lovejoy.
Keith Kinkaid / Eddie Lack
SCRATCHES: Drew Stafford, Steve Santini, Eric Gryba.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Connor McDavid – Ty Rattie;
Milan Lucic – Leon Draisatl – Kailer Yamamoto;
Jujhar Kaira – Ryan Strome – Jesse Puljujarvi;
Tobias Rieder – Kyle Brodziak – Zack Kassian.
Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson;
Darnell Nurse – Matt Benning;
Kris Russell – Evan Bouchard.
Players To Watch
Marcus Johansson – One of the New Jersey Devils’ Swedes is Marcus Johansson. After missing all but a handful of games last season, a healthy MoJo will look to have a big contribution in the 2018-19 campaign. He may not light the lamp a lot, but his playmaking capabilities will help on the power play and will be able to help set up linemates Zacha and Noesen.
Connor McDavid – The elite forward had seven points against the Devils last season, and he is a lethal threat every time he is on the ice. Containing him will be very difficult even with the right matchups, so it will be up to Keith Kinkaid to come up with a few big saves against the McDavid line. He’s fast, crafty and has a tremendous shot and vision of the ice. Watch out for #97.
The New Jersey Devils will steal a victory by a final score of 5-4.
To make the game more interesting, we are playing tonight’s game on www.statementgames.com for the chance to win cool prizes. Our two lock statements are:
Sami Vatanen Will Play OVER 22.00 Minutes
Taylor Hall + Nico Hischier + Kyle Palmieri OVER 0.5 Goals
Where to Watch
MSG+ (Local) coverage beginning at 12:30pm
NHL Network (National)
When to Watch
1:00 PM EST
After the Action
At 4:00pm today, MSG+ will be airing the first two episodes of “Behind the Glass: New Jersey Devils Training Camp,” a new four-part, all-access series offering fans an unprecedented look inside the Devils preseason. We highly suggest sticking around to catch the first two episodes, as it will be must-see TV for all Devils fans! The series is produced by NHL Network in association with NHL Original Productions.