The Matchup – The New Jersey Devils (0-0-1) face off against the New York Rangers (0-0-0) in preseason action at Madison Square Garden.
The Devils Last Game – The Devils dropped their preseason opener, 4-3, to the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout. Since it’s preseason, we’re not really considered with the wins. What’s important is that the Devils received strong play from rookies Alexander Urbom and Jacob Josefson, as well as the line of Patrik Elias – Jason Arnott – Jamie Langenbrunner. The Devils didn’t play a strong third period, and some guys looked sluggish on the ice.
The Rangers Last Game – The Blueshirts have yet to play a preseason game.
Read after the jump for tonight’s game expectations and lines!
What To Expect – A win would be nice, but this is the preseason, so I’m not really concerned about the final score. But there are a few things to look out for in tonight’s game.
1. The “Super Line” – The new-look first line of Zach Parise – Travis Zajac – Ilya Kovalchuk will take the ice for it’s first real game action. Coach John MacLean put the group together on the first day of training camp, and we’ll see how they look against another team. Personally, I’m hoping this group can develop chemistry and figure things out. This could be a 240+ point line for the Devils.
2. Josefson and Mattias Tedenby – The Devils’ top two prospects will both be on the ice tonight at MSG, skating on a line with Brian Rolston. Each player has something to fight for, with roster spots and potential demotions on the line. Josefson has had an excellent camp so far and has drawn praise from MacLean and other players. Tedenby, who’s seen as a long shot to make the team, can go a long way to getting himself in position for a roster spot with the big club.
3. Jeff Frazee takes the ice – Usually we don’t get excited about backup goalies, because we know that Martin Brodeur will start 70+ games. But Frazee is another young goaltender fighting for playing time at the AHL level. Mike McKenna had a strong showing in Philadelphia two nights ago, and now Frazee gets to prove whether or not he can stand up to NHL scorers.
4. The A-Train pulls in to MSG – Tonight will be the Devils’ debut of Anton Volchenkov, arguably the second biggest free agent signing of the summer. The big defenseman is being counted on to bring a physical presence to the blue line, and we all know about his shot-blocking prowess. I’d love to see him put a big hit on somebody tonight, maybe even a certain former Vogue intern.
5. The MSG Broadcast – As a broadcast communication major in school, I get really dorky when I watch TV and look for things like graphics changes, etc. I want to see if MSG (and, subsequently, MSG Plus) have done anything to enhance or better the broadcast. Too bad we won’t hear Chico and Doc tonight, as it will be the Rangers commentators for this game.
Here are the lines for tonight’s game:
Zach Parise – Travis Zajac – Ilya Kovalchuk
Brian Rolston – Jacob Josefson – Mattias Tedenby
Vladimir Zharkov – Adam Mair – Stephen Gionta
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond – Rod Pelley – Brad Mills
Eric Gelinas – Anton Volchenkov
Colin White – Matt Taormina
Rob Davison – Matt Corrente
Game time is 7 p.m. and can be seen on MSG.