Marcus Johansson
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New Jersey Devils played two separate games tonight. And although there were two different results, there were positives in both games.

The New Jersey Devils played two games tonight: one on Prince Edward Island and the other in Brooklyn. On Prince Edward Island, the Devils manhandled the Ottawa Senators 8-1, and in Brooklyn, the other squad lost by a score of 3-0.

The Devils absolutely took it to the Senators right off the bat tonight, scoring eight goals. Marcus Johansson, Pavel Zacha, Nico Hischier, Drew Stafford and John Quenneville had scored for New Jersey tonight, including two each from Zacha, Stafford, and Quenneville. Here are a few takeaways I had from tonight’s game. (It was announced late this evening that the game would be blacked out in the Devils market so I’m going to try and include as many goals as I can find.)

Hischier, Stafford and Johansson should Stay Together

The Devils first overall draft pick is looking like he can be something special. He added onto his preseason totals on Monday by scoring his third goal in as many games and adding his first assist of the preseason. Also, I was surprised to see him play with Johansson and Stafford tonight, but they were arguably the Devils’ best line. Johansson had four points and Stafford had two goals.

Jesper Bratt Making His Case

Jesper Bratt is doing his best to make the case that he should be on this final roster. Bratt added another point tonight, as he assisted on the first Quenneville goal of the night. Bratt has been awesome all preseason and deserves to make this roster. He’s a player that can play both wings and the Devils are thin at right wing.

Pavel Zacha Taking the Next Steps

The Devils drafted Zacha in the first round in 2015, and after an injury-riddled 2016 campaign, Zacha has looked great to start the 2017 preseason. Through three games, Zacha has three goals and one assist. His job as a top six center is becoming more and more likely given not only his play, but also the injury to Travis Zajac.

Devils Defense Was Solid

Will Butcher did not have any points but the Devils powerplay struck on a few occasions when he was on the blueline. Mirco Mueller did not score again on Monday but made a bunch of good plays on the back end. I expect him to be on the opening night roster. Those were the two players that I was watching intently because of their youth. Dalton Prout is another guy who has had a nice preseason and played well.

Now onto the Islanders game.

The Devils fell to the Islanders by a score of 3-0 tonight and did not look good at all. Part of the reason for this was because it was many of the Islanders starters against a lot of guys that probably will not be on the Devils opening night roster.

Joseph Blandisi Was Awesome

The Devils did not score tonight but Blandisi was one of the few that created a little bit of offense. Blandisi posted three shots for the Devils, which was the most on the team besides Blake Pietila. He will most likely survive the cuts that are coming tomorrow and I think he will be on the opening night roster. They weren’t in the game but I’d like to see him play with Quenneville when the season begins.

Michael McLeod Left With a Non-Contact Injury

This is something that you never want to see, especially from a first round pick. McLeod struggled to start the game, as he failed to lift Brock Nelson’s stick on a rebound goal, and then took a turn for the worst. He was skating through the neutral zone and had to take all weight off of his left foot. There has not been a diagnosis yet.

Kieth Kinkaid Made 43 Saves

You do not want your goaltender facing 46 shots, but Kinkaid did about as well as he could have. If the Devils are going to be a postseason contender, they’re going to need Kinkaid to stand tall when Cory Schneider is out of the lineup. The Devils did not create enough opportunities in this game and that was a major reason they surrendered so many shots. Also, Kinkaid cannot push this puck right back into the middle of the ice after a shot.

Cuts are coming tomorrow and the Devils roster will dwindle from 49 to about 25. They have one preseason game remaining before the opener on October 7th.

NYY

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