Saturday marks the final preseason game for the New Jersey Devils, as they take on a long-time rival in the Boston Bruins at 7:00 at TD Garden. It marks the second time that these two have squared off in the preseason, with the Devils coming out on top 1-0 on Monday.
The Devils are coming off a loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday, in which they allowed five goals, their most in a preseason game so far. Their record of four wins and two losses is third in the Metropolitan Division, behind the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets. This will be the last time the Devils play a game before their season opener on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
On Oct. 7, the team waived forwards Brian Pinho and Andreas Johnsson. They also announced several roster cuts, sending multiple players to the Utica Comets. Some noteworthy names sent down include Nolan Foote, Reilly Walsh, Nikita Okhotiuk, and goaltenders Nico Daws and Akira Schmid. While many of these roster cuts were expected, the waiving of Johnsson was a slight surprise. He’s entering the final season of his four-year, $13.6 million contract, but with the impressive showing of Alexander Holtz and Fabian Zetterlund in the preseason, there was simply no room left on the roster for the Swede.
New Jersey Devils:
*Devils line combinations not available as of time of this writing
Forwards: Alexander Holtz, Tyce Thompson, Nathan Bastian, Yegor Sharangovich, Ondřej Palát, Michael McLeod, Miles Wood, Fabian Zetterlund, Mason Geertsen, Erik Haula, Jesper Bratt, Jesper Boqvist, Jack Hughes, Tomas Tatar, Dawson Mercer
Defensemen: Brendan Smith, Simon Nemec, John Marino, Dougie Hamilton, Damon Severson, Ryan Graves, Jonas Siegenthaler, Kevin Bahl
Goaltenders: Mackenzie Blackwood, Vitek Vanecek
Jake DeBrusk – Patrice Bergeron – Craig Smith
Pavel Zacha – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Trent Frederic – Jack Studnicka – A.J. Greer
Nick Foligno – Tomas Nosek – Jakub Lauko
Hampus Lindholm – Brandon Carlo
Mike Reilly – Jakub Zboril
Derek Forbort – Connor Clifton
What’s Happening in Boston:
The Bruins fell to the Devils 1-0 in their preseason battle on Monday, but responded with a 5-4 win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday. Much like New Jersey, the Bruins made some roster moves of their own, assigning five players to their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate in Providence while waiving four others. On Oct. 6, both Matt Grzelcyk and Taylor Hall skated in non-contact sweaters, with both set to return ahead of schedule. Friday’s practice saw Grzelcyk without the non-contact sweater, while Hall still had his. “I don’t have official timelines for either,” head coach Jim Montgomery said. “The yellow jerseys are they’re not supposed to be hit so there’s no contact involved.”
Linus Ullmark will get the start in net for the Bruins, and he is slated to play for the entirety of the game. The 29-year-old last saw action on Oct. 1 against the Flyers, stopping all 21 shots in a 4-0 win. Ullmark is entering his second season with the Bruins, where he had a record of 26 wins and 10 losses to go along with a .917 save percentage and a 2.45 goals-against average.
Keep an Eye On:
New Jersey Devils: Tomas Tatar
After a quiet 2021-22 season, Tomas Tatar has been a standout of the preseason. The winger has already put up three goals, and has regained his scoring touch. His role with the Devils is not only a goalscorer, but a mentor as well. With names like Zetterlund and Holtz expected to make the team, Tatar is one of the veteran leaders in the locker room. The 31-year-old put up an even 15 goals and 15 assists last year in 76 games, and is looking to improve on that in 2022-23.
Boston Bruins: Pavel Zacha
Saturday will mark Pavel Zacha’s first time playing his former team following a summer trade that netted the Devils Erik Haula. In Wednesday’s win against the Rangers, the 2015 sixth-overall pick had three points on the day, including an unassisted goal. Throughout the preseason, Zacha’s line included David Krejci and David Pastrnak, two fellow Czech forwards. Last season was his best in a Devils uniform, with 36 points in 70 games, and at just 25 years old, he adds some youth to a Boston team that needs it.
Where to Tune In:
The game will be available to listen on the Devils Hockey Network at 7:00, with Matt Loughlin and Chico Resch on the call. There will also be interviews with players between the periods, and fans can access more information with the NJ Devils + Prudential Center App.