The Devils travel to New York tonight to take on the New York Rangers, in their second preseason game of the year. Coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the Flyers, the Devils have a good amount of things to look forward to, and these are the specific items I will look at when I am at Madison Square Garden tonight checking out the game:
- How will Ilya Kovalchuk look at right wing alongside Zach Parise and Travis Zajac?
- It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out there is an obvious large amount of pressure on Ilya Kovalchuk after the summer he had, and the LONG contract negotiations that took place in negotiating his 15-year $100 million contract, not to mention, the harsh penalty assessed against them by the NHL. Kovalchuk, who's always played the left wing, is slated to play right wing in tonight's game, the first time he will take a regular shift from the right side. How will he respond? How will he mesh with Parise on the left side? Will he get caught on the left side at all creating openings for the Rangers to capitalize on?
- D Eric Gelinas, D Matt Taormina and RW Mattias Tedenby will be making their NHL preseason debuts. It definitely will be interesting to take a look at these guys to see how they will hold up in their first taste against NHL competition. C Jacob Josefson, who will play on a line with Tedenby, will be playing in his second preseason game.
- It will also be the first Devils game for D Anton Volchenkov
- Martin Brodeur's debut
- Brodeur will make a rare road trip to start the pre-season. While the Garden is only a few miles away from Newark, I wouldn't put too much stock in him being sent on a "road trip." Expect him to play two periods tonight.
- Brian Rolston's performance
- With trade rumors running rampant with Brian Rolston and his future, it is definitely going to be something to watch to see how Rolston performs. He will be playing alongside two youngsters (Mattias Tedenby & Jacob Josefson), so is that a sign of how important he is to the Devils, or how much on the outskirts he is? Stay tuned.
Here's the expected lineup for the Devils tonight:
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Brian Rolston - Jacob Josefson - Mattias Tedenby
Vladmir Zharkov - Adam Mair - Stephen Gionta
Pierre-Luc Leblond - Rod Pelly - Brad Mills
Eric Gelinas - Anton Volchinkov
Colin White - Matt Taormina
Rob Davison - Matt Corrente
Martin Brodeur & Jeff Frazee