The Devils take on the Florida Panthers tonight in Sunrise to kick off the 2016-17 NHL season. Here's what you need to know:
1) This should be a given, but expect the compete level to be high as head coach John Hynes has challenged his team to bring an elevated attention to detail for a full sixty to give them a chance to win every night. Being able to put forth a consistent effort every shift, every period, every game will be a big point of emphasis throughout the season, so look for the fellas to start things off on the right foot tonight. Plus, as John Moore told me this morning, it's the first game that matters and everyone will be amped up to play and get the first win of the season.
2) The acquisition of PA Parenteau off waivers from the New York Islanders Tuesday morning makes eleven new faces on this year's roster, including five rookies - Pavel Zacha, Miles Wood, Blake Speers and Steve Santini. I'd say you could expect some jitters from them, especially Wood and Speers who will have family in the stands tonight, but a) they haven't shown any so far in the preseason b) three of the five have already made their NHL debuts at the end of last season with Speers being the exception and c) they've already faced this team in the preseason finale on Saturday. So, instead, expect them to continue to make a good impression and open some eyes around the league. Technically, you could add Yohann Auvitu to the list because he's also making his NHL debut tonight, but he's played six years as a professional in Finland and won the Defenseman of the Year award there last season. Can he really be classified as a rookie? Throw a comment down below or tweet me @julierobenhymer or @NJDevils with your arguments for or against. There's a better than good chance I'll share the best comments on today's Pre-Game Edition of Facebook Live.
3) Travis Zajac is expected play in his 700th NHL game tonight while Adam Henrique might be firing shots on Roberto Luongo with a little sharper aim as he is two goals away from 100 in his career. Taylor Hall, who will be making his official Devils debut tonight, is four assists away from 200.
Join me and Matt Loughlin on Facebook Live around 10:45 a.m. for your Morning Update from the game-day skate and then again for the Pre-Game Edition at 6 p.m. to get you prepared for puck drop at 7:47 p.m. on MSG+.