Here we go!! Welcome to the beginning of the 2010/2011 NHL Season. This summer has been one long strange trip, so much so I feel like linking to a certain song.
The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils vs the Dallas Stars
Where and When: The puck drops at the Prudential Center at 7pm and you can watch it on MSG+ or listen to it on 660 AM WFAN.
Season Series: This is the first of two meetings this season. Last year these two met twice and the home team won each time. Stephane Robidas scored twice and had a career-high 4 points as the Stars won 5-3 on Nov. 21. Patrik Elias had a pair of goals and Martin Brodeur stopped all 28 shots he faced to lead the Devils to a 4-0 victory on Jan. 5.
Devils Notes: Everyone will undoubtedly be focused on Kovalchuk as this is game 1 of his huge 15 year contract but this game also marks the NHL coaching debut of John MacLean. This will also first NHL game for defensemen Matt Taormina and Alexander Urbom. Free-agent acquisitions Henrik Tallinder and Anton Volchenkov also make their debuts with the team. As a result of salary-cap issues caused by Kovalchuk's signing, the team was only carrying 20 players on its roster as of Thursday.
Stars Notes: They are also a very differently looking team this season. Dallas said goodbye to Mike Modano and Marty Turco over the summer and have turned to Kari Lehtonen as the man in between the pipes. The Stars will rely on veterans like Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro and young guys like Loui Eriksson, James Neal and Jamie Benn to get them back to the post-season.
In Case You Were Wondering: The Devils are 12-1-5 all-time when playing their season opener on home ice. That 1 loss coming against the Flyers last season.
Unless Adam Mair signs a contract prior to tonights game, I think the lines are pretty easy to guess.
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Patrik Elias - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
Brian Rolston - Dainius Zubrus - David Clarkson
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond - Adam Henrique - Rod Pelley
Henrik Tallinder - Andy Greene
Colin White - Alexander Urbom
Mark Fraser - Anton Volchenkov
I'm excited to get this started again. Last season didn't end the way we wanted it to and this summer was probably the craziest summer in the history of the Devils but tonight starts the journey of putting our playoff woes behind us.