New Jersey Devils

Tonight’s preseason game will be the last opportunity for players on the New Jersey Devils to make their case for a roster spot next Friday.

By Patrick Comia

The Devils welcome the Philadelphia Flyers to the Prudential Center tonight at 7:00 pm EST for the team’s final preseason tune-up before next Friday’s Home Opener.

The team was triumphant in their visit to the Wells Fargo Center, 4-2, two days ago. Goals from Travis Zajac, Adam Henrique, and Tuomo Ruutu helped fuel the win, giving the Devils a little momentum heading into tonight.

If the team is to make a turnaround this season, it will start with their veteran core of Zajac and Henrique. Both players showed their willingness to score, so they haven’t lost their ability to make plays or compete.

Patrik Elias will not play tonight, due to a sore knee. His availability remains questionable, as he will be placed on injured reserved to start the season.

So, it will be left up to Zajac and Henrique to carry the load.

However, help is available, it will just be a question of who those players will be. Lee Stempniak and Tyler Kennedy, are on professional tryout contracts, and tonight’s game may determine their fates.

Stempniak looked good last game against the Flyers, playing in different situations including special teams. He is a serviceable player, who could be a reliable third-line forward.

Other players to follow will be Pavel Zacha. The Devils first-round selection in 2015 has one more hurdle, and tonight could be it. He has shown flashes of being a good NHL player, but it will be up to head coach John Hynes to make the determination if the time is now.

A bright spot for the Devils this preseason is Kyle Palmieri. Acquired this past offseason, he has been a positive presence on the ice for the Devils. His ability to keep plays alive and growing chemistry with the Henrique have made Palmieri an interesting to player to watch this season. He is listed day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, suffered in Wednesday night’s win. Fortunately, it is not serious.

Expect Hynes to ice tonight’s roster, with players that will most likely make the team for Opening Night against the Winnipeg Jets.

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I'm a blogger trying to make it in this world. Have been, and always will be, a fan of the NYR and NYG. Writing for the New Jersey Devils cause, well, someone has to do it!