The New Jersey Devils are back at Prudential Center Saturday night after two games on the road. The Devils host the New York Rangers in their final home matchup of the preseason. The two teams met just four days ago in New York, when Devils fell to their rivals in overtime.
Two players are starting to feel more comfortable in the Devils' system, and will be playing on a line together, while Cory Schneider looks to get in more reps.
The morning skate was slightly longer than usual this morning, rivaling that of an off-day practice. The day got started with Pertti Hasanen, New Jersey's development and skills coach, taking the players through an array of skating drills before Coach John Hynes took over coaching duties with special teams practices and 3-on-3 battles along the boards.
Pavel Zacha and Jesper Bratt are two players starting to feel more comfortable in the Devils' system. They'll be on the second line tonight, with Zacha centering Bratt and newcomer Drew Stafford. Both Zacha and Bratt expressed Saturday morning the increased comfort level they are feeling around the organization and on the ice. Zacha spent the summer working out and skating in New Jersey and feels he can be more vocal in the room with another year under his belt. Bratt is adjusting to the pace of the game, after scoring two goals in Montreal on Thursday night. He's back in the lineup for a second consecutive game.
Cory Schneider will play again tonight. After his outing against the Rangers earlier this week, Schneider says getting in the reps is important to adjust back to the timing and pace of the NHL game and get ready for the season.
One other player back in the lineup will be Jimmy Hayes. He'll be getting yet another shot in the lineup. Tonight will be his third preseason game, as the player on a professional tryout continues to try to impress the Devils' coaching staff and earn himself a roster spot.