The first game action of the season is in the books, and it was a bit sloppy at times, but the Devils came away with a 2-1 victory over the Rangers.
Some notes and observations from the game:
- Adam Larsson logged top-pairing minutes and looked pretty good in doing so. He even delivered a crushing hit on "Mr. Atlantic Division," Aaron Asham. I thought he looked poised, and even made some nice passes on the power play.
- Cory Schneider started his Devils career with a strong effort. He came out and made some nice saves, including a tremendous glove save of Brad Richards. He did seem to be fighting the puck a little bit later on in the second period, but all-in-all it was a good performance for the new Devils netminder, who was replaced in the third period by Keith Kinkaid.
- Speaking of Kinkaid, he was solid as well. The goal he surrendered to Dominic Moore came off of a huge rebound that he played right into the slot. That's the kind of mistake that he just can't make. After that, he settled in and made a couple of nice saves to preserve the lead. He showed nice poise by shaking off the goal and playing well the rest of the way.
- With the news of Damien Brunner being invited to camp, the pressure is on for anyone looking to establish some playing time on the bottom two lines. Mattias Tedenby took a nice step towards solidifying that with his first period goal. Rostislav Olesz also got the assist on that goal, so a solid night for both of them. Tedenby showed some speed at points, but consistency has always been his issue. Can he continue this throughout the preseason?
- I thought that Andrei Loktionov was the best player on the ice for stretches of Monday night's game. He has the speed and ability to be a productive player. He has such a motor on him, and he's always looking to make a play. The former L.A. King is strong on the puck and he seems to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time. It'll be interesting to see the development of Loktionov over the course of the season.
- The 3rd period goal by Eric Gelinas is exactly what I've been talking about since camp opened. He has a quick release and a very strong shot. If he's going to make this team, a large portion of it will be because of what he brings on offense. He was relatively ineffective on the power play though, which is where he needs to excel. Positionally, he was good, but not great in the defensive zone.
- If I had to give Reid Boucher's preseason debut in New Jersey a grade, I'd go with a C-minus. Boucher didn't create much offense, and he took a penalty in the first period that negated a power play. He also seemed to have a little trouble battling with bigger bodies in the corners, most notably Stu Bickel in the first period.