The New Jersey Devils (1-0-0) will host the Philadelphia Flyers (0-2-0) tonight in its home opener, 7:30 p.m. at Prudential Center. The match-up are the teams’ first since the Devils ousted the Flyers in five games in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last spring. The Devils will be playing at home for the first time since a game five victory over the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup final. Here are the facts and the preview for tonight:
Rivals, oh rivals: The Devils and Flyers have one of the fiercest Atlantic division rivalries, and that shouldn’t change this season. It will be the first of five meetings against the Broad Street crew for New Jersey in 2013, and it’s the first since the Flyers were embarrassed in five games in the playoffs last year. Expect Philadelphia to want to give a little bit back to them, especially since its the Devils home opener.
Broad Street Blues?: The Flyers have started the 2013 campaign to a sour start at 0-2. With losses to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres, they certainly don’t want to lose to the Devils to fall behind 0-3 and playing in one of the toughest divisions in the NHL. On the flip-side, the Flyers are going to look to beat the Devils in every way they couldn’t last year. Expect hard-hitting and a lot of checking in this fiery match-up.
Attack Bryz: All of the Devils’ playoff successes against Philadelphia centered around one theme: get pucks on net. They scored in a variety of ways against Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov last postseason, and, with him starting tonight, they’ll look to do much of the same. Bryzgalov was worked in a loss to Buffalo on Sunday, so the Devils will look to keep him down tonight, as well.
Devils banged up: New Jersey forwards Travis Zajac and Jacob Josefson both missed practice on Monday for what the team called ‘rest.’ Both players are expected to play tonight, and the Devils will need both of them in the lineup as two of the best face-off winners on the team. The Flyers will play three games in the first four days of the season, while New Jersey will be playing its second game in four days, so the Devils have the opportunity to get players some rest, early on.