The New Jersey Devils (3-0-2) will be looking to find their winning ways tonight, after losing two tough overtime games on the road to the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins. Heading back to New Jersey, the Devils will host the New York Islanders (3-2-1) in their second meeting of the season. The Devils won, 2-1, on opening night in New York on Jan. 19. The puck is set to drop at Prudential Center, 7 p.m. Here are the game notes:
Back to Winning: Although a pair of overtime losses aren’t the worst thing that can happen to the Devils, they would like to end that skid tonight. The Devils are still one of two teams in the Eastern Conference without a regulation loss, and every point does indeed count, but two points seems a whole lot better than one each night.
Henrique and Larsson To Go: Center Adam Henrique will make his season debut tonight, returning from a broken wrist injury last month.. Henrique became a fan favorite in the playoffs last year, when he scored a double-overtime goal in game seven against the Florida Panthers in the first round and the overtime goal in game six against the New York Rangers that sent the Devils to the Stanley Cup final. Henrique will play on the Devils’ fourth line alongside Jacob Josefson and Matt Anderson.
Likewise, defensemen Adam Larsson will play tonight as well after being a healthy scratch for first five games. Larsson was scratched during the playoffs last year as a rookie, but he found himself on the wrong side of two defensemen being scratched early this season. He’ll play with Andy Greene tonight as Mark Fayne will be a healthy scratch.
Matteau Staying…For Now: Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said on Wednesday that the Devils won’t be sending rookie Stefan Matteau back to juniors yet. It’s unaware if New Jersey will continue to play Matteau, as he can practice with the team and still be sent back to juniors without this season counting against his contract. If he is sent down, though, it seems pretty apparent that he will be back sometime in the near future for good.
Battle For First: Many believed that the Islanders could benefit from a lockout-shortened season and so far, they have. The Islanders have recorded seven out of a possible 12 points and are in second place in the Atlantic Division behind the Devils. It’s extremely early, but a win over New Jersey tonight would put the Islanders in first place in a division that had the four other teams reach the playoffs last year. That’s a big deal.