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Devils open preseason home-and-home in Philly

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils

Tonight’s Rosters

Devils

Goaltenders: Keith Kinkaid, Cory Schneider.

Defensemen: Eric Gelinas, Seth Helgeson, Adam Larsson, Jon Merrill, John Moore, David Schlemko, Damon Severson.

Forwards: Reid Boucher, Stephen Gionta, Adam Henrique, Jacob Josefson, Sergey Kalinin, Stefan Matteau, Kyle Palmieri, Tuomo Ruutu, Lee Stempniak, Jiri Tlusty, Pavel Zacha, Travis Zajac.

Philadelphia Flyers

Goaltenders: Jason LaBarbera, Michal Neuvirth.

Defensemen: Michael Del Zotto, Brandon Manning, Evgeni Medvedev, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Mark Streit.

Forwards: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Sam Gagner, Claude Giroux, Scott Laughton, Chris Porter, Matt Read, Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, R.J. Umberger, Chris Vandevelde, Jakub Voracek, Ryan White.

Tonight’s Storylines

Kinkaid to Start in Goal: Keith Kinkaid is expected to make his third start of the preseason tonight. The second-year goaltender is 1-1-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average & .917 save-percentage in 90:00 of action over his first two appearances. Kinkaid finished 6-5-4 with a 2.59 GAA and .915 save % over 19 appearances/13 starts in 2014-15. He earned the first win of his NHL career on Dec. 19 vs. Tampa Bay (26 saves + 3/3 SO).

Schlemko Available to Play Tonight: David Schlemko returned to practice on Monday and is looking to make his preseason debut tonight after missing the first five games due to a groin injury. Schlemko signed with New Jersey on Sept. 10. The 28-year-old defenseman saw action for Arizona (20 games), Dallas (5) and Calgary (19) last season and posted a combined 1g-3a-4pts. He began the season with Coyotes, was claimed off waivers by the Stars Jan. 3 and then by the Flames on Mar. 1. The native of Edmonton, Alberta saw action in each of Calgary’s 11 post-season contests and recorded 1a and two PIM. Schlemko has career totals of 9g-41a-50pts and 84 PIM in 231 regular season contests & 1g-1a-2pts and six PIM in 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Zacha Expected to Play: Pavel Zacha, the sixth overall selection of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, is expected to skate in his fourth preseason game tonight. He recorded his first point with a power play assist on Saturday vs. the New York Rangers. Zacha posted 16g-18a-34pts and 56 PIM in just 37 games last season for Sarnia (OHL) and was named to the OHL’s All-Rookie Team. He added 2g-1a-3pts and 10 PIM in five post-season contests and also skated for the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championships.

Boucher Bounces Back: Reid Boucher leads the Devils with two goals and a +3 mark during the preseason. He’s played in three consecutive games since returning from a concussion, which he suffered on September 12 during the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo. Boucher saw action with NJ and Albany in 2014-15. He skated in 11 NHL games, including 7 of final 10 contests from Mar. 23-Apr. 11 & scored his third career goal Apr. 3 vs. Montreal. Boucher also posted 15g-15a-30pts in 62 games with Albany last season.

NHL Aspirations: Sergey Kalinin, whom the Devils signed on May 29, is one of 16 forwards remaining in training camp. Kalinin has posted 0g-1a-1pt, six shots on goal and is +2 in three preseason appearances thus far. The 24-year-old spent the previous five seasons with Avangard Omsk (KHL) and set career highs across the board in 2014-15 with 12g-13a-25pts, 49 PIM & 58 games played, while serving as the club’s captain.

Kennedy/Stempniak Seizing Opportunity: Tyler Kennedy and Lee Stempniak signed PTOs with the Devils Sept. 16. Kennedy recorded two power play assists on Sept. 21 at the New York Rangers and scored in the three-on-three overtime demonstration following the Sept. 23 game in Brooklyn. He split the 2014-15 season between San Jose (25 games), Worcester (AHL, 3) and the NY Islanders (13). Kennedy totaled 6g-8a-14pts in the regular season and also saw action in three playoff games for New York. The eight-year NHL veteran has career totals of 86g-113a-199pts and 225 PIM in 477 regular season contests, 12g-15a-27pts and 27 PIM in 79 post-season games and won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009. Stempniak had points in back-to-back games Sept. 23-25 (1g-1a-2pts) and is +2 with six shots on goal in three appearances overall. Last season, Stempniak posted 15g-13a-28pts in 71 games with the NY Rangers and Winnipeg and added 1g in four playoff games with Jets. The ten-year NHL veteran has totals of 165g-204a-369pts & 253 PIM in 708 games.

Welcome Home: Kyle Palmieri scored a goal and recorded a team-high six shots in his first game at Prudential Center as a Devil on Saturday vs. the New York Rangers. On June 27, the Devils acquired the Montvale, NJ native from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for the 41st pick (previously acquired from Florida) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and a third-round choice in the 2016 Draft. He’ll join Jim Dowd as just the second player from New Jersey to ever skate for the Devils. Palmieri played two seasons of high school hockey at St. Peter’s (Jersey City) from 2005-07 before joining the U.S. National Development Program. He was Anaheim’s first pick, 26th overall, in the 2009 Entry Draft and played one season at the University of Notre Dame before beginning his NHL career with the Ducks in 2010-11. Palmieri recorded 14g-15a-29pts and 37 PIM in 57 appearances with Anaheim last season and has career totals of 43g-46a-89pts and 90 PIM in 198 NHL games.

Stefan Steps Up: Stefan Matteau, New Jersey’s first choice (29th overall) in the 2012 Entry Draft, scored a power play goal on Saturday vs. the New York Rangers. Matteau recorded 12g-15a-27pts in 61 AHL games last season, 11g-7a-18pts of which come over his final 31 appearances from Jan. 10-Apr. 18. He scored all four of his game-winning goals during that stretch, which ranked third (tie, Mike Sislo) on the club overall. Matteau also led Albany with a +9 mark (tie, Graham Black). He appeared in seven games with New Jersey last season, as well, and scored a goal vs. Montreal on Apr. 3.

Injuries

Forward Patrik Elias (right knee, five games missed) is out for the remainder of the preseason.

Defenseman David Schlemko (groin, five games missed) has resumed practicing and is available to play tonight.

Defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani (hip flexor) will not play tonight and is day-to-day.

Forward Tyler Kennedy (personal reasons) will not play tonight.

Transactions

Sept. 27: Assigned 15 players to Albany (AHL): goaltenders Ken Appleby and Scott Wedgewood; defensemen Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Vojtech Mozik and Reece Scarlett; and forwards Joseph Blandisi, Blake Coleman, Ryan Kujawinski, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Matt Lorito, Jim O’Brien, Blake Pietila, Mike Sislo, and Paul Thompson. Also, assigned to his junior team was: forward John Quenneville (Brandon, WHL).

Sept. 24: Assigned seven players to Albany (AHL): goaltender Yann Danis; defensemen Dan Kelly and Jacob Sweeney; and forwards Graham Black, Chris McKelvie, Rod Pelley and Ben Thomson.

Sept. 23: Assigned seven players to their junior teams: goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood (Barrie, OHL); defensemen Joshua Jacobs (Sarnia, OHL), Ryan Rehill (Kamloops, WHL) and Colton White (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL); and forwards Brandon Baddock (Edmonton, WHL), Connor Chatham (Flint, OHL), and Blake Speers (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL). Also, forward Alexandre Goulet was been released from his ATO.

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