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MORNING SKATE REPORT: Devils vs. Jets

Devils open their 2019-20 season at Prudential Center against the Winnipeg Jets

by Marc Ciampa / NewJerseyDevils.com

The Devils open their much-anticipated 2019-20 NHL Season at home tonight against the Winnipeg Jets. 

You can watch the game inside the Devils TV market on MSG or in the rest of the United States you can watch on NHL Network. 

Video: DEVILS:60 | Pre-Game vs WPG

Read the game preview below plus lineup updates, videos, our Morning Skate Report and more. 

INSIDE THE DEVILS

News and notes from Thursday's Devils practice and media availability, Devils announce 2019-20 roster and more. 

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE DEVILS BLOG

PRE-GAME REPORT

NEWARK, NJ - The New Jersey Devils open their much-anticipated 2019-20 season tonight at Prudential Center against the Winnipeg Jets. 

The lines at morning skate were: 

Hall-Hischier-Palmieri
Coleman-Zajac-Simmonds
Gusev-Hughes-Bratt
Wood-Zacha-Hayden

Greene-Subban
Butcher-Vatanen
Mueller-Severson

Cory Schneider gets the start. 

"At this stage in my career, getting the start opening night is tremendous," said Schneider. "It's sort of like the opening day starter in baseball, maybe a nominal thing that nobody pays attention to but it's definitely an honor to be able to start the first game of the year."

Schneider was outstanding in the pre-season with a .952 save percentage and 1.95 goals-against average as he has worked to fully regain his form after a tough knee injury. 

"It's exciting," he continued. "I feel as though I played well enough in the pre-season to earn that and that's important too. It's up to me now to run with it and make the most of it but it's a great feeling compared to where I was last year at this time."

HISTORIC DAY FOR HUGHES

The first-overall pick at this past June's NHL Draft, Jack Hughes will play his first career NHL game tonight on a line with Nikita Gusev and Jesper Bratt. 

"Stepping on the ice for the first time, it's a dream come true. It's really exciting," Hughes began. 

The rookie talked about Devils head coach John Hynes telling him to enjoy the moment and just play his game. He took that to heart. 

"He's been very consistent," said Hynes, "He never wore down. He was just the same guy every day. He grasps the concepts of how you want to play really quick and he's been a little bit more mature than anticipated."

The head coach went on to talk about how well-rounded a player the 18-year-old is. 

"He's such an offensively gifted player but he understands the defensive side of the game and he's an extremely competitive kid. I think when you look at the games he's played and he's made an impact in every game."

ADVICE FROM HISCHIER

Nico Hischier was in the same situation as Hughes and was asked about what he offered the rookie. 

"I remember how excited I was for my first game. It's a dream come true for a lot of players," Hischier stated. 

"I'll just try to help him try to help the whole team win this game. You want to start your career with the win."

Hynes noted some comparisons between Hughes and Hischier, and also Jesper Bratt, in their abilities to make an impact early in their careers. 

"When you look at when Nico and Jesper came in (in 2017) and really made an impact, it started out at rookie camp. (Hughes) was very strong in Buffalo. His speed is hockey sense and offensive skill. They were always on display. The thing that has really impressed me was the ability to do it day-in and day-out. 

DEFENSE PAIRINGS

On the blueline, the Devils are going with captain Andy Greene along with P.K. Subban on the top pairing. 

"Andy's style of game, he's a veteran player. He's smart and can let P.K. go a little bit," said Hynes. "When you look at P.K.'s partners in the past, he's done well with guys who are smart. They understand the game, they play the game the right way and it allows him to do his thing."

Will Butcher and Sami Vatanen make up the second pairing. 

"We really like the Butcher Vatanan pair as a pair that we can also play against top lines or top two lines."

-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com

PREVIEW

DEVILS (0-0-0) vs. JETS (0-1-0)

TV: 7:00 p.m. ET; Televised on MSG (in market) and NHL Network (out of market in USA)

Head-to-Head:

Tonight's game is the first of two meetings between the two teams this season. Last season, Winnipeg won both meetings, 5-2 in Winnipeg on November 11 and 4-3 in New Jersey on December 1. 

Devils team scope:

Tonight is New Jersey's first game of the season. In the pre-season, the Devils were tied with seven other teams for the NHL's top record with five wins and two losses for 10 points. 

Devils leading scorer in the pre-season was tied among Will Butcher, Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt who had five points each. The blueliner Butcher had an outstanding camp a +3 rating, 28.6% shooting percentage and five points in four games. 

Goaltender Cory Schneider had a very good pre-season with a 1.80 goals-against average and .952 save percentage. 

Jets team scope:

The Jets had a tough pre-season with two of its top players, Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine, unsigned until the very end of camp. Captain Blake Wheeler led the way, however, with two goals and six points in three pre-season games. 

In their season opener on Thursday against the Rangers, the Jets traded goals back and forth with their opponents until the very end when Brett Howden scored with 4:09 to play to make it 5-4. A late goal made the final 6-4. 

Wheeler scored twice, Mark Scheifele scored once and Connor scored once. Connor and Laine were both -3 in the game. 

By the Numbers:

With three goals scored in the pre-season, Jack Hughes was tied for ninth in the NHL. ... Devils were fifth in the NHL in power-play efficiency at 21.4% (6 goals on 28 attempts) and 13th in penalty kill (2 goals on 19 attempts) at 89.5%. Winnipeg was 9.5% on the power play in the pre-season with two goals on 21 tries to rank 23rd. They allowed five goals on 21 chances on the PK to rank 28th with a 76.2% efficiency rating.

Injury Updates:

DEVILS - The Devils have no injuries to report

JETS - Bryan Little (concussion) is day-to-day; Nathan Beaulieu (upper body) is on IR

-- Marc Ciampa, NewJerseyDevils.com

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