When the puck drops tonight on the new season, it will mark the first step in Stefan Matteau's pro hockey career.
The 29th overall pick in 2012 will make his NHL debut when the Devils open the shortened 2012-13 campaign against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
Matteau, 18, was so excited this morning that he was the first one out on the ice for the morning skate.
"It was a great feeling," he said. "It's obviously a dream come true. Now I have to work hard, now it's just another game. For sure, obviously I was really eager to get out there. Now it's here, the night's here so I have to work hard."
Making the team out of camp was Matteau's goal all along. Now he hopes to stick around. He'll have family in attendance, including his dad, ex-NHLer Stéphane Matteau.
"I came here to work," he said. "I was on a mission, I wanted to make this team. As camp went on I thought I was having a good camp, having a strong camp. I just have to keep working. I have to stay here."
He's ready for a bigger stage than anything he's experienced before.
"The first shift has to be my best shift, then the second has to be better," he said. "I can't be on a cloud the first shift. I have to prove to them that I can play and I want to play here. I just have to play hockey."
• The Devils made two roster moves following Saturday's skate, assigning Bobby Butler to Albany (AHL) after he cleared waivers, and recalling Mattias Tedenby.
• Martin Brodeur will extend his NHL record by starting his 18th straight season opener with the same team.
• Jacob Josefson took part in the morning skate after missing the last two days of practice and will play.
Here's a look at the lines for tonight's game:
Zubrus - Zajac - Kovalchuk
Tedenby - Elias - Clarkson
Carter - Gionta - Bernier
Matteau - Josefson - Janssen
Greene - Fayne
Salvador - Zidlicky
Tallinder - Volchenkov