The Devils lost 4-3 to the New York Islanders at Barclays Center tonight with goals by Reid Boucher, Miles Wood, and Devante Smith-Pelly.
1) Head coach John Hynes noted the consistency and steady improvement of Blake Speers starting with development camp in July to rookie camp in Buffalo and now in main camp, which is why he is still here and not back with his junior club in Sault Ste. Marie. To his credit, Speers is making the most of his opportunity and has even been rewarded with PP time. Tonight, he played a big role in Boucher's goal, both to keep the play alive with strong play along the wall to regain possession and with a nice cross-ice pass to Boucher for the goal.
2) A big focus of the off-season has been improving offensive depth and it was on display tonight as three lines were able to cash in. Kalinin, Fiddler and DSP looked like a very competitive line and Hynes commented on how hard they worked tonight. He also felt the Josefson line with Speers and Boucher was their best line tonight.
3) The Devils started strong each period, but then struggled to sustain offensive pressure when the Islanders pushed back. That said, there was no quit in this team. They pushed until the very end and nearly tied it up with the extra attacker. Management has been emphasizing the value of competing hard and they had to be pleased with tonight's effort despite the result.
The Devils have the day off tomorrow and will return to the ice on Wednesday when they host the Islanders in another pre-season match at 7pm on home ice.