W2W4: Stars vs. Devils

The blog will be in Newark tonight for the area's first regular season game between the Devils and the visiting Dallas Stars. We'll have a post-game breakdown and you can follow me on Twitter for some in-game analysis. (I promise not to tweet every time Ilya Kovalchuk touches the puck.)

To get you primed, here are three points I'll be keeping an eye on tonight.

The Devils D

Henrik Tallinder and Anton Volchenkov figure to help one of the team's weaknesses from last season, but I don't know if you'd label either of them as "puck movers." It will be interesting to see how quickly the D can pounce on loose pucks and send them back down the ice with a good first pass. The Devils have six pretty sweet forwards comprising their top two lines, but they need to get the puck somehow.

The 7th D

D Matt Taormina was recalled from Albany and the Devils will play with 11 forwards and seven D-men tonight. It's an unorthodox approach to say the least, particularly since New Jersey is carrying just 20 players on its roster. According to the Record's Tom Gulitti, head coach John MacLean said he plans to work Taormina in on the power play tonight and it will be interesting to see what other situations he and fellow rookie Alexander Urbom will be used in.

Secondary scoring

The Money Line of Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and Kovalchuk looks like it could rank with the league's best. But how about the combo of Patrik Elias, Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner? And what production can the team get out of its checking unit? The Devils finished 19th in the NHL in goals per game last season. Miss Cleo told me that will improve in 2010-11. By a lot.

Pre-game Links