Apr 3; Newark, NJ, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Mark Streit (2) skates with the puck while being chased by New Jersey Devils left wing Ilya Kovalchuk (17) during the third period at the Prudential Center. The Devils defeated the Islanders 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Devils – Islanders: What to Watch For


Well, it’s officially back. Eight months after the New Jersey Devils’ season ended in game six of the Stanley Cup final to the Los Angeles Kings, the 2013 season is ready to get underway. The Devils will be taking on the New York Islanders, 7 p.m., at Nassau Coliseum. Here are the facts and expectations for the game.

Excitement: Both teams will be chomping at the bit to get going tonight –it’s been roughly 10 months since the Islanders last played a game — so there should be hard-hitting and fast-paced action for the beginning of the game at least.

Welcome back, Kovy: Devils star forward Ilya Kovalchuk will be playing healthy for the first time with New Jersey since the beginning of the playoffs last spring. After angering some Devils fans when he almost didn’t return to the NHL, Kovalchuk will be looking forward to reminding those fans why he was the best player in the postseason for the Devs last season.

Maaarrttyyyyyyy: Longtime Devils goalie Martin Brodeur will be making his 18th consecutive season-opening start for New Jersey. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if he put up incredible numbers tonight, with several people saying — like last year — that he’s too old to be as good as he once was. Either way, it will be good to see no. 30 between the pipes for the Devils.

Upbeat Isles: With all this talk about the Devils, the Islanders certainly don’t want people to forget that they are playing in this game, too. The Islanders were the only team in the Atlantic division to not make the playoffs a year ago, so they are coming into this shortened season with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove.

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