Preseason Game Preview #4: New Jersey Devils at Montreal Canadiens

Damien Brunner looks to build off a strong game Saturday night - Bruce Bennett

It's off to the Bell Centre Monday evening as the Devils play their only out of the area preseason game of the year.

The Time: 7:30 PM EDT

The Broadcast: RDS will have a broadcast of the game, according to the Devils website. That doesn't really help me much, or probably most of us, but in case you get that station, you are in luck. Not so sure if the Devils website will offer any audio or video. Being that it's broadcast in Canada, I'm not sure the Canadiens website will offer us any viewing assistance either, but it might be worth a check. Be sure to also check Tom Gulitti's twitter feed, as always, since I am sure he will have all relevant updates.

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils at the Montreal Canadiens

The Last Devils Game: In a game I did not see any of, the Devils apparently looked much better on Saturday than they did Thursday, rebounding to defeat the Islanders 3 - 0 in the first ever hockey game played at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn. John had the recap of the game here. It sounds like Damien Brunner had a pretty good game playing alongside Patrik Elias. Cory Schneider pitched another shutout, and has yet to give up a goal so far this pre-season. He won't be playing tonight, however, as, to the surprise of no one, Martin Brodeur will get the start in Montreal.

What to Expect: The Devils are still trying to sort out many of their position battles, both up front and on the blue line. There are probably a few players the coaches still want to get looks at in certain situations. Like a fine executive chef or restauranteur, we should also keep our eye on Pete DeBoer's "pairings". Coach Pete admitted on Sunday that he is looking for pairings that work at this point and will be worrying about the third part later. There must certainly be a pairing to look for in every line, then. We can also keep an eye on the special teams. They are also trying to establish the power play, work out the kinks in the system, and become more consistent with their zone entries. It seems they may have done slightly better with a few of these power play related things on Saturday. Perhaps someone who saw the game can attest to that. The penalty kill blanked the Islanders on Saturday. It would be nice to keep that unit on a roll and build up some momentum heading into the second half of the pre-season slate.

#BrunnerWatch: It sounds like Damien Brunner had a much better second game than he did first. Paired with Patrik Elias and Jacob Josefson, that unit accounted for both even strength goals on Saturday night. According to Peter DeBoer, it sounds like we will be seeing more of Brunner and Elias together. It seems like Brunner is on his way to earning himself a spot on this team. If he clicks with Elias again on Monday, that should pretty much seal the deal.

... And Cory's a great 1A: Earlier this camp, Pete DeBoer announced that Marty Broduer is the team's number one goaltender, and that Cory Schneider is a great 1A to have. Well, that 1A has looked very sharp, while our #1 goaltender still needs to get some of the kinks worked out after a messy first performance. It would be nice to see Marty get a little closer to where he needs to be with a strong second performance of the preseason. I do expect Brodeur to be sharper, for several reasons. One, he always seems to play well in Montreal. Two, he is always someone who takes a little time to find his groove, and this will be his first full game of the pre-season.

Who's In and Who's Out: Right now, it will be easier to talk about who is not going to play than who will. It would seem that Mattias Tedenby is out. Jaromir Jagr is out. I would call Andrei Loktionov doubtful and Ryan Clowe questionable, although Clowe did practice Sunday, so maybe he is ready to go. I think all of us would like to see him get a couple more shifts under his belt, provided of course, he doesn't risk re-aggravating or re-acquiring any sort of Charley Horse type injuries. Beyond this, I can speculate a little, so I will. Tim Sestito and Cam Janssen got a look Saturday, so I don't see them getting back in the lineup. Same with Stefan Matteau. I suppose Rod Pelley or Mike Sislo could either get a look, since they are still around and neither has gotten in a game yet. I don't see that happening however. I do expect Adam Henrique back in the lineup. I'm going to take a guess, based on Sunday's practice, that we see the CBGB line.

The defense, I expect some changes as well. I don't expect Jon Merrill to play a third game in a row, but we'll see. Eric Gelinas sat out the last one, so he could be back in the lineup. If the Devils are still taking a serious look at Damon Severson, he will be back in as well. We shall see. They will probably flip flop the veterans, just like in previous games. That would mean that Sal, Greene, and Zidlicky should be back in the lineup. Any or all of Fayne, Larsson, Volchenkov, and Harrold could be watching this one from the sidelines. All this guess work will be sorted out by the time Monday morning's practice rolls around, as whoever is on the ice for that will not be playing in the game.

So, we are getting closer to the regular season, and the Devils are getting closer to some potentially difficult roster decisions. Who do you want to see get a chance in this fourth pre-season game? What will you be looking for out of the team on this particular evening? Are there any situations you would like to see the Devils work on or improve on before we start playing for real? Please drop your answers to these questions and any thoughts relating to the game in the usual spot. Thanks for reading.

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