New Jersey Devils – Philadelphia Flyers Preview
By Kristin Tullo (@K_Tullo)
New Jersey will look to win their first home season- opener against the Flyers since 1991 and extend their all-time home-opener record to 17-8-5 when they play host to the Flyers in their 31st home season-opener tonight at the Prudential Center. The meeting will be the first of three to take place in Newark this season between the clubs in their five game series. The Devils are coming off of a 2-1 win in Long Island, with goals from Travis Zajac and David Clarkson, while the Flyers are searching for a win after dropping their first two to start the 2012-2013 campaign.
The Devils will keep their lineup as it was on Saturday, which means Adam Larsson and Peter Harrold will both be healthy scratches for the second straight game and Martin Brodeur will be between the pipes for the 85th time in the regular season against the Flyers.
Stefan Matteau and Scott Laughton both made their NHL debuts over the weekend after being drafted in the first round of the 2012 draft and are expected to play tonight. Matteau has three shots on goal and one hit after one game with the Devils. The Flyers number one draft pick has six hits and one blocked shot.
Matteau has only played a limited number of minutes on the Devils fourth line alongside Cam Janssen and Jacob Josefson and will likely remain there for tonights game, but played well enough to keep himself in the lineup.
Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier have moved from the fourth line to the third line, after combining for 10 goals in the Devils playoff run last spring. In their first game back, the three combined for six shots on goal and could provide the Devils with good scoring depth in tonights game against Philadelphia.
Keys of Consistency:
Ilya Kovalchuk has proven to be successful against the Atlantic division rival Flyers since joining the Devils, going 4-7-11 in 15 contests. Long time Devil, Patrik Elias has 33 goals and 42 assists in 76 meetings with Philadelphia. While they wait for Adam Henrique to return to the lineup, Elias and Kovalchuk will need to be key producers on a team where natural goal scorers are hard to come by.