New Jersey Devils at New York Islanders - Preseason Game #3 Preview

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: TV – None. Radio- None. Internet Stream – The Islanders' Website

I will also be recapping the game tonight and will do my best to convey the action watching the live stream via the Islanders website.  That said, we all know how inconsistent live internet streams can be so wish me luck.

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (1-1-0) face the New York Islanders (0-1-0) at hopefully-soon-to-be-renovated Nassau Veterans Coliseum. The Devils are looking to bounce back from a 4-3 loss last night to the New York Rangers. John recapped last night’s game here.  

Tonight’s game will be the first of two pre-season games the Devils and the Islanders play. They will also play on September 30th at the Rock. The Islanders played last night, losing 6-3 to the Boston Bruins.  You can read the recap by Lighthouse Hockey here. For an Islanders centric point of view please check out Lighthouse Hockey throughout the day site for more information.

Arthur Staples of Newsday posted the projected Islanders lineup for tonight:: 

Forwards

Matt Moulson-John Tavares-Nino Niederreiter

Kyle Okposo-Frans Nielsen-Michael Grabner

Jay Pandolfo-Ryan Strome-Tim Wallace

Matt Martin-Josh Bailey-Trevor Gillies

Defensemen

Mark Streit-Steve Staios

Mark Eaton-Milan Jurcina

Aaron Ness-Travis Hamonic

Former Devil Jay Pandolfo, on a try-out with the Islanders will suit up tonight.  Hoping Pando does well. 

Oh great, Trevor Gillies is playing.  Nothing like having an ECHL goon to worry about. How is he still allowed in the league again?

Who will the Devils be playing?  Head coach Pete DeBoer has already said that Johan Hedberg will start and play the full game.  I am not sure who will back him up, but I would guess it will be Jeff Frazee.  Other than the goaltenders at this point you would have to think any player who played in both Wednesday and Friday’s games won’t be playing tonight.   It’s also likely that some AHL bound players who did not play in the Albany-Connecticut game yesterday will get a chance to play in Long Island.

Possible Players for Tonight’s Game:

Forwards: Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, David Clarkson, Adam Henrique, Stephane Veilleux, Steve Bernier, Cam Janssen, Chad Wiseman, Matt Anderson, Stephen Gionta

Defense: Henrik Tallinder, Alexander Urbom, Mark Fraser, Matt Corrente, Matt Taormina,Peter Harrold, Anton Stralman

Goaltenders: Johan Hedberg, Jeff Frazee

I will provide any definitive roster lists in the GameThread that will go up at 5:30pm today.

The Goal: In the pre-season I think one of the main goals is: Don’t get hurt, especially when playing the first set of back-to-back games this season.  The second goal?  I think I would like to see some hunger from guys competing for bottom 6 forward spots. After the jump I will write a bit more about what I am looking to see from those players battling for roster spots. 

In Friday night's game I think there was an opportunity for Brad Mills to really take a step forward and earn an energy role with the team. DeBoer seemed impressed with his effort in the first game and practices, but unfortunately the two interference penalties might-and I think should- have killed his chances to make the NHL team out of camp.

The Devils need secondary and tertiary scoring to compete this year and I hope that DeBoer gives looks to other players who might bring an energy and scoring touch to those bottom 6 forward spots. Two guys who I am not sure we need to see that much of in the pre-season is Tim Sestito and Rod Pelley. We know what they can and can't do. Let's see some smart, energetic players get a chance in these next few games so we can see who deserves to play. My preference is to see guys like Stephane Veilleux and Steve Bernier to get real looks to make the team.

One spot that might be going to a young player is the 3rd line center role. Adam Henrique showed last night that he really wants it. His likely competition for the that role, David Steckel, certainly didn't do himself any favors last night and seems to be marked for the 4th line.

As far as defense is concerned, I would like to see Anton Stralman get some power play time, as I think he can add something to the power play during the regular season. The Devils will need whoever plays alongside Kovalchuk to be a threat to shoot and Stralman can offer that. As long as he plays like he did Wednesday, I think he makes a strong case to be moved ahead of Harrold and a few others on the depth chart.

Things I am looking for in tonight's game:
1. Someone like Bernier, Vellieux, Gionta, or Wiseman to distinguish themselves as a fourth line/energy player and push veterans like Rod Pelley and tryout Petr Sykora for a spot on the team.

2. Adam Henrique to continue to bolt down a 3rd line role and start the season in New Jersey. Getting 2 games in 2 nights is a good, early opportunity to separate himself.

3. Anton Stralman to inch ahead of his competition for the 3rd pairing/extra defenseman role.
That said, it's the third pre-season game of the year and the third game in four nights for the Devils. Again, the first goal should be to make sure everyone leaves Nassau County in one piece. Beyond that I don't think any jobs will be won or lost tonight. But the grips on certain jobs might just become a bit tighter with good performances from players like Henrique or Stralman.

Anything you are looking for tonight? Thanks for reading and sound off below.

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