A few thoughts on Devils-Islanders through the first period…
- The Isles have to be happy they got out of that period still scoreless. The Devils dominated a period of rusty play by both teams, led in particular by their forecheck. It will be interesting to see how both teams grow during the rest of the game. Earlier today, the Flyers no-showed the first period but came out of the room possessed and played the second and third periods like a different team.
- The league may have been shuttered for three-plus months, but the Devils’ forecheck never left. The Devils’ bread and butter in the playoffs last season, the forecheck was responsible for most of their offensive chances in the first period. There was an early shift by the Matteau-Josefon-Janssen line that was particularly impressive. Janssen put a big hit on someone (didn’t notice who) and the rookie Matteau got a couple shots, although neither were on net.
- Speaking of Matteau, he and Josefon got shifted around a bit, which was nice to see, playing with Ryan Carter and then getting some time with Ilya Kovalchuk. Matteau didn’t look out of place and it seems they really wanna give the kid a shot to prove he belongs. Tedenby also playing well thus far, used his speed to create a breakaway and fielded a nice pass from Elias. If he controls the backhand shot a little better, it might be 1-0 Devils.
- If there’s one thing the Devils need to do a better job of it’s getting to rebounds. They left at least three legitimate scoring chances right in front of Evgeni Nabokov, who is having trouble controlling the puck. That’ll be a key in the second and third periods.
- Shots were 9-3 in favor of the Devils. The only penalty was on Bryce Salvador for cross-checking at 0:29.