GAMEDAY PREVIEW: Detroit Red Wings vs. New Jersey Devils Season Opener

Red Wings vs. Devils Game Preview

The Detroit Red Wings will open the 2023-24 season on the road as they take on the New Jersey Devils. The Devils are one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference entering this season, so this game presents a tough matchup for a new Detroit Red Wings team.

Red Wings vs. Devils Preview
NHL.com

Detroit Red Wings (0-0-0) vs. New Jersey Devils (0-0-0)

When: Thursday, March 12
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Prudential Center (Newark, NJ)
TV: ESPN+/HULU

What To Watch

Tonight will be the first game that all the offseason acquisitions will play a meaningful game for the Red Wings. It comes against an excellent team, so the 2023-24 season gets off to a real test, and we’ll get to see what type of team the Red Wings are this season; it won’t be a complete picture as it’s the first game so it won’t show the whole picture, but it’ll give an idea.

The Red Wings will have the challenging task of slowing down the Devils’ top six forwards as the first two lines may be one of the top units in all of the NHL; the first line is expected to be Tyler Toffoli, Jack Hughes, and Jesper Bratt, with the second line of Timo Meier, Nico Hischier, and Dawson Mercer.

Detroit will also face former Red Wing Brendan Smith, with whom he spent the first six seasons of his NHL career; he played in 291 games for them, putting up 67 points and having 281 PIM.

Red Wings Player to Watch: Dylan Larkin

Larkin is entering his ninth season in the league, all with the Red Wings. He will be playing in 585th career game times and has recorded 437 points on 179 goals and 258 assists. He has 99 power-play points, scoring 45 goals and 54 assists, and is a -92 for his career. Last season for the Red Wings, he played in 80 games, recording a career-high in points with 79 coming on 32 goals and 47 assists (both tied for career highs). He had 31 power-play points coming on 16 goals and 15 assists, and he was a minus-seven; he finished last season first on the team in points, first in goals, first in assists, first in power-play goals, second in power-play assists, and 20th in plus/minus.

Dylan Larkin’s Line Assignments

Larkin will center the first line with Alex DeBrincat and David Perron on his wings. He will also be the center on the first power-play unit, playing alongside Perron, DeBrincat, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Moritz Seider.

Larkin’s career vs. New Jersey

In his career against New Jersey, Larkins has played in 19 games and has recorded 22 points on 11 goals and 11 assists, and he is a +11 career against them. Last season against the Devils, he played in three games, recording five points coming on two goals and three assists, and he was a plus-three.

Between the Pipes:

Detroit: Ville Husso (Confirmed)

Husso played in 56 games last season, going 26-22-7 with a 3.11 GAA and a .896 save percentage. Last season against New Jersey, Husso made one start, going 0-1-0, giving up five goals; in his career against the Devils, he has played in two games, going 0-1-1 with eight goals against 60 total shots.

New Jersey: Vitek Vanecek (Probable)

Vanecek played in 52 games last season, going 33-11-4 with a 2.45 GAA and a .911 save percentage. Last season against the Red Wings, Vanecek made three starts, going 2-1-0, giving up eight goals; in his career against Detroit, he has played in four games, going 2-1-1 with five goals against 30 total shots.

Goalie Comparison

Detroit vs. New Jersey Game Preview
NHL.com

Wrap Up

The Detroit Red Wings will look to pick up a big two points to get their 2023-24 season off on the right foot. However, it won’t be easy; this could be a step in the right direction for this newly assembled team that Steve Yzerman has put together. Ville Husso needs to get some confidence back to start the season after the way last season ended for him.

Against New Jersey in their last ten games, Detroit is 5-5-0 and has been outscored 31-28. Last season, the Red Wings went 1-2-0 against the Devils and were outscored 13-8; the second before that, they dominated them, going 3-0-0 with the Red Wings outscoring them 13-5.

CJ

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