New York Hockey: New Jersey Devils

Elias to return vs. Canucks

October, 24, 2013
Patrik Elias is slated to return Thursday for the Devils as they face the Vancouver Canucks. The veteran forward missed the past two games with the flu.

Elias is slated to rejoin fellow Czech legend Jaromir Jagr on the team's first line, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

Devils captain Bryce Salvador remains on bereavement leave because of a death in the family.

Cory Schneider, who appears to have won the starting goaltender job, will be between the pipes when they host the Canucks.

Rapid Reaction: Devils 4, Rangers 0

October, 19, 2013
Newark, N.J. -- What it means: The Rangers' woeful skid continues as they were blanked 4-0 by the only team in the entire league that had yet to win a game this season -- the New Jersey Devils. More worrisome than the team's 2-5-0 record? The play of franchise goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Coming off a shutout performance in D.C. on Wednesday, the "king" looked less than royal as he struggled against the Rangers' Hudson River rivals. The former Vezina Trophy winner hasn't looked like himself all season, a big problem given that the Rangers have been able to rely heavily on his steadying presence in recent years. Meanwhile, the Devils showed signs of life despite an injury-depleted roster. Both Marek Zidlicky and Jaromir Jagr notched a pair of assists each and goaltender Cory Schneider turned away all 22 shots to finally get the Devils in the win column.

Shaky start: Lundqvist didn't look like the same goaltender the Rangers had between the pipes in D.C. on Wednesday. In fact, the 31-year-old hasn't resembled that player too often this season. Lundqvist gave up two bad first-period goals to start the game; Andrei Loktionov pounced on a juicy rebound and beat Lundqvist five-hole at 7:22 and Adam Henrique lasered one past him from the left faceoff circle later in the period. And though Lundqvist was screened on the Devils' third goal of the night -- a power-play marker from Michael Ryder -- the fourth was another one he should have stopped.

Bounce-back Bryce: It was a surprising return for defenseman Bryce Salvador when he appeared back on the bench for the second period. The Devils captain looked dazed and had trouble getting up after a hard hit from Benoit Pouliot in the first period that sent him sprawling backwards to the ice. Salvador not only returned, but picked up an assist on Dainius Zubrus' goal. Assuming Salvador emerged unscathed, the Devils dodged a bullet. The 37-year-old Salvador has a troubling concussion history; he missed the entire 2010-11 season with a cochlear concussion.

Missing in action: The combined rosters of the Devils and Rangers closely resembled that of their exhibition contest last month, given both teams' substantial list of injuries. The Devils were without three of their top-six forwards Patrik Elias (flu), Damien Brunner (upper-body soreness) and Ryane Clowe (concussion). The Rangers were in a similar boat with the caliber of players they are missing: captain Ryan Callahan (hand), Carl Hagelin (shoulder), Rick Nash (concussion).

Sitting out: Defenseman Michael Del Zotto also did not play, though he has since recovered from the bout of the flu that sidelined him for Wednesday's 2-0 win vs. the Caps. Coach Alain Vigneault opted to keep that winning lineup intact and made Del Zotto a healthy scratch. Consider that a clear message about the team's assessment of his play thus far.

Up next: Rangers at Flyers, Thursday at 7 p.m.

W2W4: Rangers @ Devils

October, 19, 2013
At a glance: Even amidst a troubling early-season swoon, the Rangers are not the worst team of the three New York-area locals. Despite the Blueshirts' recent struggles, it’s the New Jersey Devils that find themselves in dire straits entering Saturday’s match against their Hudson River rivals. Winless through their first seven games of the season, the Devils are desperate to get back on track. Meanwhile, the Rangers will look to build off Wednesday’s morale-building win against the Capitals.

Injury woes: The Rangers suffered a blow with the news that captain Ryan Callahan is out for up to a month with a broken thumb. The team only recently got him back from a shoulder injury, but the gritty forward made an immediate impact. Callahan had three goals in the first five games of the season, including one in Wednesday’s 2-0 win against the Caps. The team is already without Rick Nash (concussion) and Carl Hagelin (shoulder), which means that three of their top six forwards are missing from the lineup.

Schneider in net: The Devils will start Cory Schneider in net against the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist. That means Brodeur will be backing up against the Blueshirts -- a rarity for the future Hall of Famer. According to The Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti, this is the first time Brodeur is not starting a home game against the Rangers (when he wasn’t injured or just returning from injury) since Nov. 30, 1993.

Help on the way: In the wake of Callahan’s injury, the Rangers have recalled veteran penalty-killing forward Darroll Powe. Goaltender Jason Missiaen was also called up, presumably to allow Cam Talbot to play some games in the AHL this weekend. Missiaen will back up Lundqvist.

Lineup changes: According to The Record, defenseman Adam Larsson will sit out Saturday’s game with Mark Fayne drawing into the lineup. Center Jacob Josefson is also expected to replace Andrei Loktionov in the lineup. Meanwhile, ex-Ranger Ryane Clowe will not have the chance to face his former club just yet. Clowe remains on injured reserve with a head injury. That’s worrisome for the Devils, who inked him to a five-year, $24.25 million deal in July. Clowe sustained two concussions last season during his short time with the Rangers.

Chat wrap with Katie Strang

October, 16, 2013
Katie Strang (12:00 PM):

Hey everyone! Welcome to another week of puck talk here at As usual, lots to talk about so let's not waste any time. Fire away with your questions, rants, etc!

Adam (Long Island)

Hi Katie! Thanks for the chat. Despite not putting up any numbers on the stat sheet, watching the games I see Zuccarello doing more of the 'little things' (no pun intended) right than guys like Pouliot, and Pyatt. With AV calling out his players and putting Miller in a position to possibly overtake a top-9 spot from one of these players - who do you think is most at risk of losing their spot on the Rangers between Zuccarello, Pouliot, and Pyatt?

Katie Strang (12:03 PM)

It's the top-six forwards -- particularly Pouliot, Brassard, Zuccarello -- that really need to be on notice with Miller's recall. The 20-year-old prospect went on a tear after being sent down to Hartford and he's not timid. Alain Vigneault sent a clear message yesterday when he said that Miller could quickly push one of his teammates out of a top-six spot if his play warrants it. That goes for the PP, too. He'll start on second unit but have an opportunity to move up if he plays well. The way things are going, no one's spot is safe. The only player right now that has been pretty consistent is Brad Richards

To read the transcript of this chat, head on over to here.

Tavares celebrates first win as captain

October, 4, 2013
NEWARK, N.J. -- A few hours before he wore the “C” for the very first time, John Tavares was asked how he wants his tenure as New York Islanders captain to be defined.

[+] EnlargeBryce Salvador and  John Tavares
Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY SportsDevils captain Bryce Salvador and Islanders captain John Tavares get together before the game.
He didn’t mention himself once. Instead, he rattled off the single most important priority concerning the team:


Tavares himself didn’t deliver the heroics in the Islanders' season opener, but the start of his captaincy began with a win regardless, as Matt Moulson's sixth-round shootout goal and a pair of goals from Michael Grabner boosted the Isles to a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday.

“It makes for a good feeling in the locker room,” said the 23-year-old Tavares, who was named the 14th captain in team history on Sept. 9.

A new captain isn’t the only thing that seems to have changed around the Islanders, who have long been treated as the red-headed stepchild of the NHL. There appears to be a different sort of confidence that has taken root, and along with that, higher expectations.

The Islanders made their first postseason appearance in six years last spring. And a surprisingly competitive first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins earned the Isles some respect, and gave them a taste of something they'd gone a long time without.

Now they enter the 2013-14 season with playoff experience. And they understand the amount of hard work it will take to return to the postseason.

“I don’t know if it’s a new era (but) I think realizing we can be successful with the way we played down the stretch last year ... I think (we) have a little more confidence in getting wins,” Moulson said.

The line of Tavares, Moulson and Kyle Okposo struggled during regulation, mismanaging the puck and spending time hemmed into their own end. But the Islanders received some much-needed secondary scoring from Grabner.

The speedy winger, whose well-documented difficulty on the breakaway is a perennial gripe among Islanders fans, utilized his strength in slicing through two Devils defenders and slipping the puck underneath Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur's pads during the first period. He tallied his second of the night on a right-wing rush in the middle frame.

“He’s obviously proven he can score a lot of goals and how much of a weapon his speed is,” Tavares said. “When he’s using it aggressively, that’s when he’s really playing well.”

That line came through later, in the third period, when Grabner picked up an assist on a nice give-and-go play with Nielsen, in which the Danish center tucked the puck at the left post for a 3-2 lead at 1:01. When the Devils tied the game later in the third on Damien Brunner's second goal of the night, the Islanders didn’t panic.

There were some harried moments in the Islanders' own end in the waning minutes of regulation, but they held on, withstanding some tremendous saves from Brodeur that were vintage Marty.

As one would expect from the first game of the season, it wasn’t pretty. The victory came from the supporting cast, not the stars.

Tavares is fine with that. Like he said, he just wants to win.

Rapid Reaction: Islanders 4, Devils 3 (SO)

October, 4, 2013
What it means: John Tavares' tenure as the 14th captain in New York Islanders history began with a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils, after his good friend and linemate Matt Moulson notched the game winner in the sixth round of the shootout. Both teams received ample secondary scoring, with the Islanders getting two goals and three points from Austrian winger Michael Grabner, and Swiss forward Damien Brunner tallying a pair of goals for the Devils.

Breakout night: Grabner's combination of blazing speed and skill but puzzling ineptitude on the breakaway has been a perennial frustration for Islanders fans over the years. He showed improvement Friday, however, when he split two Devils defenders and slipped the puck under Martin Brodeur's pads for his first goal of the season. He scored again in the second period, on a rush down the right wing. He didn't completely shake the perceived weakness, though. His bid for a hat trick was spoiled midway through the third period when he was all alone against Brodeur and got stuffed.

Stocking some skill: The loss of Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise in consecutive offseasons was a massive blow to the Devils' offensive attack. Though the team boasts depth with guys like Ryane Clowe, Michael Ryder and Dainius Zubrus, there is a dearth of top-shelf talent to ease the load from veteran Patrik Elias and centers Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique. That’s why the pickup of Brunner may prove to be a savvy one. The former Red Wing has speed and skill, and showed his nose for the net when he batted in a puck for the team's first goal of the season at 2:59 in the first period. He notched his second goal of the night by lifting a loose puck over Evgeni Nabokov's pads to knot the score at 3-3 midway through the third period.

Czech-ing line: Future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr started the game on a line with fellow Czech Elias and the ex-Ranger Clowe. Although loaded with skill and veteran experience, the line didn't exactly boast youthful exuberance. They were on the ice for Grabner's first-period marker at 8:07, and Jagr was on the ice for Grabner's second as well, which came at 13:43 of the second period.

Confusing behavior: It is still customary for fans to cheer after a goal is scored, no? A contingent of Devils fans went against convention and actually booed the team's first two goals, an indication they were not happy with the change in goal song. The Devils used to play Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 2," before changing it to a Bon Jovi tune this season. Tough crowd.

W2W4: Devils vs. Islanders

October, 4, 2013
At a glance: The Islanders open their 2013-14 season against a division rival as the New Jersey Devils try to get back on track after a 3-0 loss to the Penguins in their first game of the season Thursday. The teams met twice in the preseason -- each taking a game -- but this time it's for real when the puck drops Friday night at 7 p.m. in Newark.

Brodeur is back: Though his streak of starting the season opener in 18 straight seasons came to an end Thursday when Cory Schneider got the nod instead, goaltender Martin Brodeur will play his first game of the year in front of a home crowd. Devils coach Pete DeBoer wanted to give Brodeur an extra day to prepare for his first start of the season, considering his four-day leave from the team last week following the death of his father, Denis. This could very well be the last season for the 41-year-old future Hall of Famer.

New era: Friday night marks the first game of John Tavares' tenure as the Islanders' 14th captain in team history. The 23-year-old is coming off a spectacular 2013 season (he was as a Hart Trophy finalist), and he hopes to build off that by leading his team back to the playoffs. Tavares averaged almost a point per game during last year's lockout-shortened season with 28 goals and 47 points in 48 games.

Aiming high: The Islanders were a revitalized bunch after their first playoff appearance in six years last season and the plucky squad left the postseason after a surprisingly competitive series against the Penguins wanting more. With realignment, they'll still have tough divisional foes like the Rangers and Penguins to battle. A couple of newcomers to the division, particularly Washington, will provide stiff competition as well.

Hammer time: Travis Hamonic will play Friday, despite being shaken up from a hard hit taken in a game against Ottawa last Sunday. The 23-year-old defenseman, who inked a multiyear deal this summer, said he is "100 percent" and that his status for the season opener was never in question. Top defensive prospect Griffin Reinhart, a first-round draft pick in 2012 (4th overall), made the opening day roster but is not expected to play Friday. Young center Brock Nelson will make his NHL regular-season debut. The fellow first-rounder played in his first game as an Islander during the team's first-round series against the Penguins last spring.

Schneider starts over Brodeur

October, 3, 2013
Martin Brodeur's impressive streak of starting 18 consecutive NHL season openers for the New Jersey Devils will come to an end Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

Brodeur was initially expected to get the nod, the four days he spent away from the team last week following the death of his father, Denis, changed the plans. In a somewhat surprising move, Devils coach Pete DeBoer opted to go with Cory Schneider in goal against the Penguins because New York is playing back-to-back games. The Rangers open at home Friday against the Islanders.

DeBoer felt Brodeur could use an extra day to prepare and the 41-year-old veteran agreed. The future Hall of Famer appeared in only two preseason games and knew he wouldn't be playing both games, regardless.

Click here for the full news story.

Devils assign Matteau, Merrill to AHL

September, 25, 2013
The Devils have trimmed their roster by eight, leaving them with 28 players left in training camp.

Among the cuts the team announced were top prospects Stefan Matteau and defenseman Jon Merrill, both of whom were hoping to crack the opening day roster.

Those two players were assigned to Albany of the American Hockey League, along with goaltender Scott Wedgewood, defensemen Brandon Burlon and Eric Gelinas and forwards Rod Pelley, Tim Sestito and Mike Sislo.

Defenseman Damon Severson was also sent back to his junior team, the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League.

Isles fans weigh in on Barclays Center

September, 21, 2013
New York IslandersBruce Bennett/Getty ImagesIslanders fans got their first look at their team's future arena Saturday night. So what did they think?
NEW YORK -- It will be another two years until the New York Islanders officially leave the long, storied history of Long Island behind for their new home in Brooklyn, but Saturday was the first taste of what is to come in an exciting new era for the organization.

Just like the surprise playoff experience last spring managed to bring a level of excitement long lost for the beleaguered organization, so did the team’s debut in its future home -- the state-of-the-art Barclays Center.

A 3-0 loss to the Devils derailed some of the novelty that came with the first NHL game in Brooklyn, but there was a buzz about the building from the 14,689 in attendance Saturday night.

Aesthetically, it seemed appropriate to have sleek, shiny, modern new digs for a young, talented Islanders team that seems to be on the precipice of making the next big step.

“The atmosphere was great and it was a lot of fun to play in this building, so that part was good,” said 2013 Hart Trophy finalist John Tavares, recently named the team’s new captain.

Though Tavares was a big reason the old, decrepit Nassau Coliseum was rocking last spring -- when rabid fans packed the old barn for the team’s first playoff appearance in six years -- he knows they have been eagerly awaiting a new facility.

“Hopefully fans can take away something from tonight and being part of it,” he said.

New York Islanders Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY SportsA 3-0 loss to the Devils dampened the Islanders' first game at the Barclays Center.
Among fans, the experienced was varied. Though the configurations of the arena -- originally outfitted to host basketball -- offer a more intimate appeal, the venue was not designed with hockey in mind (it holds a capacity of 15,813). Because of that, there were sections of seating with obstructed views and challenging site lines.

“It’s a hockey rink crammed into a concert hall,” said Chris Elwood, 32, of Babylon.

Elwood came with his daughter and a group of her Lady Islanders 12-and-under hockey team (which played on the ice earlier that day) and had trouble seeing the action when the puck was behind the net closest to the West End area.

Seth Polan had a similar complaint, though he was seated much closer to the ice in section 009, row 14, seat 8. The 44-year-old Polan said he and his buddies had a tough time seeing the right corner of the ice, though that was partly because they had such "prime seats."

After one period of play, he wasn’t ready to weigh in just yet.

"It's too early," said the Holbrook resident.

Polan's friend Richard Seeger, who came to the game in a vintage Team USA Ken Morrow jersey, was already sold after 20 minutes of play.

“The seats are shallower, which is cool because you get to see more of the player,” said Seeger, 44, of Massapequa. “It’s great. I love it. No complaints.”

Besides the expected gripes about the sight lines and obstructed views, there was some additional grumbling from smokers, who couldn’t find a place to light up their cigarettes -- the arena is smoke-free, as is the surrounding campus -- but overall, fans were pleased with the new facility in terms of aesthetics, ambiance and convenience.

Jennifer DeCarli, 40, came to the game with her boyfriend Frank Palozzolo. Though Palozzolo hails from Long Island, he has since moved to Park Slope, making the Islanders’ future move extra appealing -- “It’s only a 20-minute walk home!” -- for the couple.

“He’s so excited,” she said.

The Islanders seemed so too, even if the excitement was dampened by the loss.

Still, Barclays Center isn’t their home quite yet. Until then, the Islanders feel they have work to do.

“We have two more years at Nassau and there’s big history there,” said gritty forward Matt Martin, an Islander fan favorite. “They won four Stanley Cups there in that arena. It’s a franchise that’s been around for a long time and it would be great for fans to see us win another Stanley Cup there before we go to Brooklyn.”

Rapid Reaction: Devils 3, Islanders 0

September, 21, 2013
NEW YORK -- The Islanders didn't break in their new digs with a win, but they did christen their future home with Brooklyn's first taste of NHL hockey in a 3-0 loss to the Devils at Barclays Center on Saturday.

What it means: In a game that was more about the atmosphere than the final score, the new arena drew mixed reviews from the 14,689 in attendance. Though the buzz about the new building brought out a big crowd and ample excitement, there were also some anticipated gripes about the state-of-the-art venue, which will be home to the Islanders beginning in 2015-16. The sleek, modern Barclays Center is an automatic upgrade over the antiquated Nassau Coliseum, at least aesthetically, but some fans weren't sold on the sight lines and obstructed views they encountered.

Fan favorite: Though fans were fond of the intimate feeling the arena’s configuration provides, there were also some complaints about the obstructed views, particularly from the West End area of the arena. Some said they completely lost portions of play while the puck was behind the net, others said they found that the glass warped their vantage point. Even a few fans griped that there was no place to smoke a cigarette.

Looking good: Devils netminder Cory Schneider, who turned away all 22 shots faced in his Devils debut Monday night against the Rangers, has yet to surrender a goal in the preseason. The former Canuck, acquired by the Devils in a draft-day trade, made 26 saves to blank the Islanders in his second exhibition game.

Josefson makes history: Mark this one down, trivia buffs. Devils center Jacob Josefson scored the first ever NHL goal in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Josefson poked through a rebound to give the Devils a 1-0 lead at 10:14 of the first, with defenseman Anton Volchenkov and Swiss forward Damien Brunner picking up the assists.

Down and out: Islanders winger Kyle Okposo left the game with 10:20 to play in the third period after catching a stick to the face that left his mouth bloodied. No high-sticking penalty was called.

Still got it: Veteran Patrik Elias, who is entering his 17th season with the Devils, gave the team a 2-0 lead in the second period and picked up an assist on Steve Bernier's power-play goal in the next frame. The 37-year-old forward, who has amassed 375 goals and 930 points during his illustrious career with New Jersey, led the team in scoring last season with 14 goals and 36 points.

Sticking around: Former Red Wing Brunner picked up two assists in his second game since signing a professional tryout contract with the Devils earlier this week. Following Thursday’s 5-3 loss to the Islanders, the 26-year-old said his conditioning and timing both needed improvement, but he looked better Saturday night. Though Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said he gave Brunner “no promises” about earning a contract for the season, his two-point performance Saturday was a step toward cracking the opening-day roster.

W2W4: Islanders vs. Devils

September, 21, 2013
At a glance: Brooklyn gets a taste of NHL hockey Saturday in the first preseason game at Barclays Center -- the Islanders’ future home come 2015 -- when the Isles and Devils meet up for their second tilt in three days. Already familiar foes, the two teams will square off again opening weekend, as the Devils host the Islanders in their home opener Oct. 4.

Last time around: The Islanders beat the Devils in a scoring bonanza that featured two short-handed goals in the first period from Josh Bailey, a breakaway goal by Ex-Devil Eric Boulton and three fights between Devils enforcer Krys Barch and Islanders tough guy Brett Gallant. Devils rookie defenseman Jon Merrill also finished with a goal and an assist in his Devils debut.

Hello, Brooklyn: The Islanders appear to be bringing their A-team for the first NHL game at Barclays, with the bulk of their opening day roster slated to play Saturday night. According to Newsday, the team’s top line of Matt Moulson, John Tavares and Pierre-Marc Bouchard will play, as will Bailey, Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo. Veteran netminder Evgeni Nabokov is expected to start in goal.

Second shot: After an impressive performance in his first game as a New Jersey Devil on Monday night, Cory Schneider will get the nod again Saturday. Schneider, who turned away all 22 shots faced in the Devils’ 2-1 win over the Rangers, is expected to play the entire game, according to The Bergen Record.

Ailing veterans: Two of the Devils’ biggest offseason acquisitions -- Jaromir Jagr and Ryane Clowe -- are already on the shelf due to injury. Jagr has not practiced with the team since suffering a lower-body injury the first day of training camp, while Clowe is out with a charley horse sustained in Thursday’s loss. Coach Pete DeBoer said he is not concerned Clowe’s injury will be a long-term issue, however.

Young guns: The Islanders line of top prospects Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome was a fun one to watch Thursday night. Now, keep an eye on the youngsters on their blue line. Both Griffin Reinhart and Matt Donovan will play Saturday as they look to compete for a roster spot.

Clowe leaves game with 'lower-body injury'

September, 19, 2013
NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils forward Ryane Clowe left Thursday's game against the Islanders in the first period with what the team says is a "lower-body injury." He did not return to the game.

The 30-year-old Clowe, who inked a five-year $24.25 million deal with the Devils in free agency this summer, has not been the picture of health in the last year.

Clowe, who was traded to New York from San Jose at the trade deadline, was limited to just 12 games with the Rangers last season because of multiple concussions.

The Devils are already without another veteran forward in their lineup; Jaromir Jagr suffered a lower-body injury during the first day of training camp and has not played since.

Rapid Reaction: Islanders 5, Devils 3

September, 19, 2013
What it means: The Islanders picked up their first win of the preseason with a 5-3 win over the Devils in Newark, N.J., on Thursday. Josh Bailey picked up where he left off after a strong finish to the 2013 season, notching two shorthanded goals in the first period. Ex-Devil Eric Boulton scored against his former team, while Devils rookie defenseman Jon Merrill finished with a goal and an assist in his Devils debut.

Double duty: Bailey tallied not one, but two shorthanded goals -- only two less than he's had in the past five seasons combined -- in the first period. The first was set up by a nice feed form linemate Kyle Okposo at 6:55. Bailey scored again, capitalizing on a Devils miscue to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead later in the period.

Dazzling debut: Merrill was impressive in his first preseason game as a New Jersey Devil, finishing the night with a goal and an assist. Merill unleashed a bomb that was deflected into the goal by Rostislav Olesz in the first period. He then slid one through traffic to beat Isles goaltender Kevin Poulin in the next frame to pull the Devils within a goal, 4-3. The 21-year-old Merrill is competing for a spot on the Devils’ blue line along with fellow youngsters Eric Gelinas and Alexander Urbom.

Clowe sidelined: Devils forward Ryane Clowe left the game in the first period with a “lower-body injury,” according to the team. He did not return. The 30-year-old Clowe, who inked a five-year, $24.25 million deal as an unrestricted free agent this summer, left the bench after playing only 2:01 over three shifts. The Devils are already without one of their high-profile offseason acquisitions in Jaromir Jagr. Jagr also suffered a lower-body injury, on the first day of training camp, and has not played since.

Making moves: The trio of top prospects Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome proved to be an exciting line to watch. The youngsters connected for the Islanders’ first goal of the night 3:31 in, with Nelson setting up Lee all alone in front of veteran netminder Martin Brodeur.

Take Three: Tough guys Brett Gallant and Krys Barch fought three separate times. The two players found a sneaky way to skirt the rules in their second bout. To avoid a penalty for taking their helmets off before a fight, each player politely tipped each other’s off for him. There were no civil pleasantries the next time, however. Barch dropped Gallant with a powerful uppercut during Round 3 in the third period. Both players were tossed with game misconducts.

W2W4: Devils vs. Islanders

September, 19, 2013
At a glance: In the first meeting of the season between the two teams, the Islanders and Devils face off in what will be a prelude to the season opener October 4. The Islanders enter Thursday's game having dropped a pair of split-squad games in Calgary, while the Devils are coming off a 2-1 win over the Rangers Monday night.

Big night for Brunner: Damien Brunner had to watch from a suite Monday night, but the 26-year-old Swiss forward will be on the ice Thursday for the first time since signing a professional tryout agreement with the Devils. Though general manager Lou Lamoriello said there are "no guarantees" that come along with the PTO, chances are the former Red Wing has a good shot to crack the opening day roster.

Introducing Jon Merill: Brunner won't be the only one making his Devils debut. Top defensive prospect Jon Merill will play his first exhibition game. The rookie blue-liner, who played college hockey at the University of Michigan before turning pro, is expected to compete with fellow young defensemen Eric Gelinas and Alexander Urbom for a shot.

Young guns: Among the players expected to dress for the Islanders Thursday are talented young prospects Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome. Kevin Poulin, who is expected to compete for the backup position behind Evgeni Nabokov with Anders Nilsson, is expected to start in goal.

Clutterbuck sidelined: Those anticipating Cal Clutterbuck's Islanders debut may be waiting a while. The gritty 25-year-old winger, one of the Islanders most notable off-season acquisitions, is expected to miss significant time with a skate laceration suffered in a preseason game on Tuesday.

Missing in action: Neither Jaromir Jagr nor Patrik Elias is expected to play Thursday night. Jagr, who signed in New Jersey as a free agent this summer, left the ice with a lower-body injury the first day of training camp.

Like father, like son: While it's back to business for 41-year-old veteran Martin Brodeur as he heads into his 21st season with the Devils, he's had the delight of having his son, Anthony, in training camp with his team. Though it appears unlikely the father and son will take the ice together during a preseason game, Brodeur's son got to enjoy an NHL training camp with his dad after being drafted by the organization this past June.