Across the ice from Schneider, will be his longtime teammate in Roberto Luongo.
The Devils held an optional skate this morning. Here are the likely lines:
Bryce Salvador - Marek ZidlickyAndy Greene - Mark FayneAnton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold
Goaltender: Cory Schneider
1. Can't fall behind multiple goals - Ideally, the Devils would take the lead first and never relinquish it. Given last night's results, all bets are off tonight. NJ has come back in the third period twice in their last two games to force overtime and gain a point. If they fall behind and are forced to make up a two or three-goal difference, given their potentially frail state of mind, I can't see them catching up. They need to stay close all night.
2. Middle ground for Cory Schneider - I think most Devils fans were floored by Cory Schneider's preseason. His GAA was minuscule. That didn't translate in Game One against the Pens. I'd expect him to have a game somewhere in between his highs and lows. Will he be motivated by coming back to Vancouver where he once stood in the shadow of Luongo? Or will he allow an early goal or two and allow the crowd to get on him and feed the energy of the Canucks?
3. New additions - Ryan Carter is out and so is Adam Larsson. Larsson needs to watch from the suite level tonight. He was extremely strong in 2013 and for the moment, it looks like he has taken major strides backwards. It was time to get Mark Fayne in a game anyway, no matter who it was for. They need to see what they have in him. Given the current state of the organizational depth on defense, it's worth it to showcase Fayne for a potential trade. Carter hasn't had much impact like he did the prior two years so it's a good spot to get Rusty Olesz in. Olesz had a nice preseason but there was really nowhere to fit him in the top four lines. Olesz showed some skill as well as some grit. Let's see what he can do.
4. Defense needs to shut it down - Last night's third period was one of the worst frames of hockey the organization has played in a long time. They were air tight for 40 minutes. Then it all went down hill. Goaltenders or not, they've allowed three goals or more in each of the first three games. Bryce Salvador got pushed off the puck by smaller guys in the neutral zone last night. That was frightening to watch. I thought he'd bounce back from last year's hip issue and certainly be more improved. That hasn't been the case. No excuses about bounces or faceoffs or anything. Get it done.
Prediction: Devils 3, Canucks 1
As my partner Dave Turner mentioned, it is a great thing that they have a game tonight. They have no choice but to forget about Edmonton. Cory Schneider, as a glimpse into the future, shuts down the opposition in a must-have game for the Devils. NJ spreads out its scoring and gets a goal in each period and the defense has its best performance of the year.
There will be a lot of media chatter about the players and coaches for the next few days if the Devils don't come out of tonight's game with two points. 10 p.m. awaits...
We'll have our Instant Insight article up after the conclusion of tonight's game.