The New Jersey Devils are hours away from their first preseason game of the 2022-23 season. The team held a morning skate at Prudential Center, and then traveled north to face the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.
The coaching staff has spent the past few days preparing by having the guys participate in three scrimmages. When asked about why the schedule was designed that way, head coach Lindy Ruff explained it allows them to see the compete level of the 56 players looking for a spot on the opening night roster.
On Sept. 16 the Devils and Canadiens met during the Prospects Challenge tournament at LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo, NY. New Jersey’s rookies won by a final score of 4-3 with the spotlight on Alexander Holtz who scored the game-tying goal with less than two minutes left in regulation and won it in overtime.
Setting the Stage
How to Watch
Fans will be able to view tonight’s contest through the NJ Devils + Prudential Center app that launched on Sept. 24. In addition to viewing the game, fans will be able to access the latest team news and interviews.
Tonight’s Devils Roster
Forwards: Andreas Johnsson, Tyce Thompson, Nico Hischier, Nolan Foote, Brian Halonen, Fabian Zetterlund, Samuel Laberge, Jesper Bratt, Jesper Boqvist, Aarne Talvitie, Tomas Tatar, Graeme Clarke.
Defensemen: Reilly Walsh, Damon Severson, Ryan Graves, Nikita Okhotiuk, Topias Vilen, Kevin Bahl.
Goaltenders: Mackenzie Blackwood and Nico Daws.
Tonight’s Canadiens Roster
Forwards: Cole Caufield, Owen Beck, Mike Hoffman, Rem Pitlick, Kirby Dach, Juraj Slafkovsky, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Filip Mesar, Anthony Richard, Michael Pezzetta, Jan Mysak, Joshua Roy.
Defensemen: Mike Matheson, Justin Barron, Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, Gianni Fairbrother, Mattias Norlinder.
Goaltenders: Jake Allen and Cayden Primeau.
A Look at the Canadiens
Yesterday Montreal held a scrimmage and noticeably missing were Slafkovský, Caufield, Dach, and Guhle. Standouts included Anthony Richard who collected three points (two goals, one assist) and Owen Beck who earned two assists. The Canadiens are entering tonight’s contest after playing five intersquad scrimmages this past weekend.
Injuries are already mounting for the Canadiens as they will be without captain Nick Suzuki who is dealing with an upper-body injury, Josh Anderson and Jake Evans who are both listed as day-to-day, and finally Joel Edmundson who is out indefinitely.
Players to Watch
New Jersey Devils: Nolan Foote
The Devils goaltenders would be the obvious choice, but sometimes it’s good to think outside the box. Foote is a player who has stated multiple times that his goal is to make the roster out of training camp, but has not really stood out during the team’s scrimmages. There is a lot of competition when it comes to the team’s bottom-six forward positions and I will have my eye on Foote to see what he can bring tonight. According to Devils reporter Sam Kasan, the 21-year-old will be on a line with Thompson and Clarke.
Montreal Canadiens: Juraj Slafkovský
Devils fans were disappointed when they found out the first-overall pick would not face second-overall pick Simon Nemec during the Prospects Challenge, and now the tables have turned as it is New Jersey’s defenseman who will not suit up. According to the morning skate report, the Kosice native will be Montreal’s second line right winger playing alongside Pitlick and Dach. When he met with the media on Saturday, he said he feels that tonight’s atmosphere at Bell Centre will almost feel like a regular season NHL game, and it’s hard to disagree.
Kristy has been contributing to The Hockey Writers since March of 2021. She is thrilled to be putting her journalism degree to use and is a credentialed correspondent covering the New Jersey Devils. Kristy is also a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. You can follow her journey on Twitter @InStilettos_NHL and Instagram SkatingInStilettos.