Game 1: New Jersey Devils at Pittsburgh Penguins
Your New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins once again find each other squaring-off to start an NHL season. These two teams have combined for 6 of the last 8 Atlantic Division Championships, and have represented the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals four times in the past 10 NHL seasons. The Devils will look to start the 2013-14 season off right after missing the playoffs last year, while the Penguins will look for some consistency from their goaltenders and return to the Stanley Cup Finals.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils went through some pretty aggressive changes during the off-season. Let’s see if we can cover them: David Clarkson left for Toronto during free-agency, Ilya Kovalchuk defected to Russia, Lou traded the Devils 9th overall pick in a trade to Vancouver for Cory Schneider, free agents Ryane Clowe, Jaromir Jagr, and Michael Ryder were signed, and Damien Brunner was picked up late in the pre-season. Sound like a lot? Well, it is. Clarkson and Kovalchuk contributed for a lot of the Devils’ scoring against the Penguins last year, so the team will be looking towards the new guys like Brunner, Jagr, and Ryder to generate some offense, along with some familiar faces in Elias, Zajac, and Henrique. It’s unclear who will get the start in net for the Devils. Martin Brodeur, who lost his father last weekend after a long battle with cancer, says he’ll be emotionally ready for the season opener, but an official decision hasn’t been made. After Schneider’s stellar performance in the pre-season, though, Pete DeBoer will have no second guesses if he has to fill in for Marty.
One of the main concerns for the Penguins going into this season will be their goaltending. Despite a high-powered offense, what burned the Pens during their playoff run last season was their spotty goaltending. Marc Andre-Fleury lost his starting job in the opening round against the Islanders, with Tomas Vokoun filling in. There were rumors floating around earlier in the week that the Penguins had interest in Ilya Bryzgalov, but nothing came to fruition from those. The Penguins may see how the season starts with Fleury and Vokoun before trying to sign anyone else. If there’s one thing the Penguins don’t have a question about it’s there offense. What is there to question when your team has the likes of Crosby, Malkin, and Neal?
What to Watch For
Expect some pretty high-scoring games between these two teams. The Pittsburgh offense has proven time and time again that they’re capable of scoring goals on any team, regardless of who’s in between the pipes. And with the questionable goaltending in Pittsburgh, the Devils will look to exploit any rust that the Pittsburgh netminders might have from the off-season.
Posted on October 3, 2013, in Devils Army, Devils Army Generals, Game Preview, New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Devils Fans, NHL and tagged Adam Henrique, Evgeni Malkin, game preview, james neal, Marc-Andre Fleury, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Patrik Elias, Pittsburgh Penguins, sidney crosby, Tomas Vokoun, Travis Zajac. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.