Gameday: Flyers at Devils (1/22/2013)

Who: Philadelphia Flyers at New Jersey Devils
When: 7:30 p.m. ET; Pregame show at 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
Media: TV – NBC Sports Network (Channel listing); RadioWFAN (660AM or 101.9 FM)
Twitter: @cgriffin415 | @SNYDevils

Stats & Notes (via Devils PR)

  • The teams are facing-off for the first time since their Eastern Conference Semifinal series in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Devils beat the Flyers 4-1 on their way to an Eastern Conference Championship.
  • Ilya Kovalchuk had 4g-11a-15pts in 10 combined regular/post-season games vs. Philadelphia last year.
  • New Jersey is 16-8-5 all-time in home-openers
  • The Devils are 0-3-1 in openers since moving to Prudential Center, their only win being a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders on 10/10/08.
  • New Jersey has hosted Philadelphia in its home-opener three times previously:
    • 10/8/11 – Flyers 3, Devils 0
    • 10/3/09 – Flyers 5, Devils 2
    • 10/8/91 – Devils 4, Flyers 1

Expected Lineups

Forwards                                                                Defense                                                   Goalie
Zubrus-Zajac-Kovalchuk                                    Salvador-Zidlicky                                             Brodeur
Tedenby-Elias-Clarkson                                     Greene-Fayne
Carter-Gionta-Bernier                                        Tallinder-Volchenkov

Inactives: Harrold, Barch, Larsson

For a season so compact, it sure feels like Game 1 and Game 2 had a pretty wide gap, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s just me. Anyway, somethings I’ll be watching tonight:

You call that a power play?: Boy, that power play was ugly Saturday. I mean Tim Tebow dropping back to pass ugly. Thankfully, given the new system and new PP coach, I wasn’t expecting much. And I’m not expecting much tonight either. Still, it bears watching on a game in and game out basis to see certain glimmers of growth — a sharply-delivered backdoor pass, a good 35-45 seconds of possession with multiple shots, low shots from the outside that create scrums in the middle. I’m not even looking for them to score. I’m just looking for the Devils to do something with the man advantage.

Intensity: I’m not just looking for this, I’m fully expecting it. While the game against the Isles felt more like a tuneup than anything else, this one feels like a real early gut-check game. The Flyers are coming in somewhat desperate for a win at 0-2 and although I didn’t get to see them in Buffalo, I did watch the entire game against the Penguins. If the Flyers team from the second and third period shows up tonight, the Devils will be in for a heck of an early-season test — and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see at least two to three scraps during the game.

I caught a fluke!: Will Tedenby continue to display defensive responsibility while using his speed to create offensive chances? Was his chemistry with Patrik Elias a one-game thing or are we seeing the progression of a second scoring line for the Devils? These are two incredibly important questions for this season and you can’t answer one without answering the other. Tedenby won’t play unless he’s somewhat responsible on the backcheck and in his own end, which would rob us of a very dangerous duo that would give the Devils some much-needed scoring depth.

Tic-tac-goal: The Devils’ top line played a very good game Saturday, including Kovy’s beautiful feed to Zajac for a goal in the second period. That connection will be the Devils’ primary and sometimes lone means of scoring at even strength this season. Watch for signs of the burgeoning chemistry between the center and his wing man and expect at least one play that shows you how dangerous they can be together.

Claude Giroux: Because anytime you get to watch Claude Giroux play hockey is a treat.