It is always high intensity when the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils tangle, and tonight's home opener at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ will be no exception. In this lockout-shortened season—which turns the old adage about the NHL season being a "marathon, not a sprint" on its ear—the Devils host the struggling Flyers with a chance to put their neighbors from Philadelphia in a big hole.
"Against a rivalry team like Philly, it's always 'rock 'em, sock 'em,' so, right up my alley," said New Jersey enforcer Cam Janssen after Tuesday's morning skate. "It's always gonna be physical with me."
With Philadelphia and the New York Rangers both off to slow starts, the Devils will try to jump four points ahead of both their heated rivals with a win tonight. Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur appealed to the fans to provide the team with an extra jolt when they takes the ice for the first time at home in seven months.
"The rivalries that we have around here are something special," Brodeur said, "we're looking to continue on the same wave of what we accomplished last season...what a great match up to start the year at home."
"These fans were outstanding to us as a team throughout the playoffs. They don't realize how much it helps. The fans were big. This team [the Flyers] is going to come out hard, they always do. We're going to have to be ready from the drop of the puck."
For the Devils, defenseman Adam Larsson will again be a healthy scratch, along with defenseman Peter Harrold and forward Krys Barch. Larsson—who logged major ice time as a rookie last season—said he didn't expect head coach Peter DeBoer to change the lineup as long as the team is winning.
"I don't think he'll change the lineup when we win games. I think that's a good thing, even when I'm (the guy) out," Larsson said. "As long as the team wins games the lineup should stay the same."
The puck drops at 7:30 PM at Prudential Center.