The New Jersey Devils are chomping at the bit to get the NHL preseason underway, and it all starts tonight at Prudential Center against the Washington Capitals. Monday's game will feature several anticipated debuts in front of the home crowd.
Rookies Nico Hischier and Will Butcher are slated to make their first appearance at home in competition. Hischier, the 2017 first-overall pick, will be centering a line with John Quenneville and Jimmy Hayes on his wings. He's excited for his debut, and spoken like a true hockey player, Hischier said after practice, "Just want to get a win tonight."
At least one familiar face will be in the crowd for Hischier. His father Rinaldo is in town for a week and will be at Prudential Center to catch his son's NHL preseason debut.
Meanwhile, Butcher was paired on the second defensive unit on the left side with Damon Severson.
Another debut is that of Marcus Johansson. Johansson will not only put the Devils' jersey on for the first time in competition, it will also be the first time he faces some of his former Washington Capitals teammates. Washington traded Johansson to New Jersey earlier this summer. He'll get top billing, centering the first line between Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri.
Other NHL regulars to take part in Mondays matchup are Dalton Prout, Damon Severson and John Moore. Each NHL preseason game requires at least eight NHL regulars are on the game-day roster.
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As for the goaltending, coach John Hynes has elected to go with the duo of Keith Kinkaid and Scott Wedgewood for this first matchup. Kinkaid will start the game, and Wedgewood will draw in midway through.
Game time tonight is 7 p.m.