Photo Credit: Mark Fischgrund

PREGAME - NJ Devils vs Florida Panthers

The New Jersey Devils take on the reigning Stanley Cup Runner-ups, the Florida Panthers, October 16 at 7 p.m.

The Devils are coming off a shootout loss against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night. This loss came off the end of a back-to-back where the Devils were able to take three out of four available points, starting the season off with a record of 1-0-1.

Some key players to watch from the Devils are Jack Hughes as he started this season off a strong note, collecting five points in two games. The next few players are the line of Timo Meier-Nico Hischier- Dawson Mercer. This line does not seem to be connecting as well as every other line, which is unusual for this talented group of players. It could just be rust and the need to gain more chemistry, but the next few games will be important for this line if they want to stay together.

Another key player is Jonas Siegenthaler. There has not been much chatter around Siegenthaler over the past two games, even though he notched three assists in the home opener. Last year, he was the perfect example of a defensive defenseman. Are Devils fans going to see a new offensive side to Siegenthaler this season?

We can also see a change in lines as Ondrej Palat was moved to the top line with Meier and Hischier, while Mercer was put down onto the third line at practice on Sunday. While these lines are not confirmed for the game, it shows head coach Lindy Ruff is aware of the lack of production from the top line and is trying to get each line rolling.

Special teams should also be watched as they have become a key role in these games. Will the Devils continue to be successful in this area of the game?

The Panthers have started this season off on the wrong foot as they lost their season opener to the Minnesota Wild. Although they heavily outshot the Wild, they were not able to find the back of the net. Their power play was also very unsuccessful, as they went 0-3 on the night.

Their unsuccessfulness continued into their next game against the Winnipeg Jets where they lost 6-4. The Panthers were able to get a lead over the Jets, but it did not last long and then the Jets continued to pile it on. At the end of the game the Panthers were able to make a push and score two goals with an extra attacker, but those two goals proved to be not enough.

If star forward Matthew Tkachuk can get rolling, that might be enough to encourage the entire team to start producing. The Panthers currently are sitting on a record of 0-2-0.

Will the Devils be able to turn themselves around after a rough game against the Coyotes?

Gabrielle Nordstrom

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