(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The New Jersey Devils took to the ice Monday night to open up their preseason against their cross-town rival New York Rangers. Between the debut of future heir to Martin Brodeur’s throne, Cory Schneider, to the first look Devils fans would get of their promising young prospect Reid Boucher, this game had it all.
The fans, piled in their seats, brought a sense of electricity one would not expect at a preseason game. Hockey, was finally back at The Rock. Schneider, the future of the Devils, and Henrik Lundqvist, present, had the first of what will be many encounters in their soon to be competitive rivalry.
The first period saw a lot of back and fourth option between both offenses. Like anyone would expect from the preseason opener, the tempo was not very fast. The Rangers and Devils traded chances back and forth. Schneider saw most of the work, but was up to the task in every way, making save after save, play after play. The opposing goalie was not yielding much either, until a broken play in the Rangers end led to the Devils first goal of the preseason.
Mattias Tedenby opened the scoring at 10:20 in the first, off of a passing play with new Devil Ratislav Olesz. Tedenby, once a first-round draft pick with high expectations from the Devils organization, has been fighting to find a permanent spot on the NHL roster. With a strong game against the Rangers on Monday, Tedenby may have opened some eyes on the coaching staff, earn him more time with the club to showcase his skills.
Schneider showed the NHL just why the Devils gave up their 9th overall pick in this years draft to get him from Vancouver. After playing the first two periods, Schneider was swapped out with future hopeful Keith Kinkaid. Schneider stopped all 22 shots he faced in the game, earning him a tremendous ovation from the Devils Army.
With a 1-0 lead going into the third, the Devils looked to go up by two, to give Kinkaid a cushioned lead. With a Rick Nash hooking penalty just expiring, defensive prospect Eric Gelinas blasted home a slap shot from the point, giving him his first goal, and the 2-0 lead the Devils were looking for. Gelinas will be battling both Jon Merill, and Alexander Urbom for the coveted final spot of the defensive corps for the big club.
Rangers forward Dominic Moore would get his first of the preseason just five minutes in to the third period, cutting the Devils lead to one, but that’s as close as the Blue Shirts would get. Kinkaid shut the door on the remaining Rangers chances, and would win it for his team in their preseason opener in front of a raucous crowd.
The Devils will play their second preseason game against the New York Islanders, at the Barclays Center, Wednesday night at 7pm. Martin Brodeur is expected to get the start.