Devils rookie Jacob Josefson will get his first taste of regular season NHL action tonight.
The center, who was reassigned to Albany of the AHL during final cuts last week, will center the third line with David Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus when the Devils face off against the Colorado Avalanche tonight at the Prudential Center.
Josefson admitted being nervous for his first game.
“I’m not nervous right now, but I won’t be surprised if I’m a little nervous before the game,” he said to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. “But I think as soon as the puck touches the ice it will pass.
“It’s very exciting. I’ll just go out there and try to play my game and enjoy it as much as possible. I’ll just try to give my best out there.”
Devils coach John MacLean said putting Josefson with Zubrus and Clarkson was a no-brainer because the trio played together during the training camp.
“Zubie and Clarkie, he was familiar with them through training camp, so I think that’s a good place for him to start,” MacLean said. “We’ll see how it goes.”
“I’ve played with them in some exhibition games and they’re great players and they really make it easier for me,” Josefson said of his linemates. “They’re really helpful out there, talk a lot with me and stuff like that. So, I think that’s helpful.”
Josefson joined Tim Sestito and Matt Corrente as the three Devils called up on Thursday to fill out the roster. The Devils, who can play at $5,062,500 over the cap because Brian Rolston is on the long-term injured reserve, will dress 20 skaters for a game for the first time this season.
Despite being shorthanded, the Devils were able to win their first game of the season Wednesday night in Buffalo, 1-0. Both Ryan Miller and Martin Brodeur played spectacular hockey, making big save after big save to keep the teams scoreless through regulation.
In overtime, the Devils finally solved Miller. Rookie defenseman Matt Taormina carried the puck into the Sabres’ zone, bringing it to the left circle. He sent a pass to Ilya Kovalchuk, who went down to one knee and blasted a shot over the blocker of Miller for the game-winning goal.
Josefson and the rest of the Devils face off against an improved Colorado team. The Avs defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 5-4, in a shootout Tuesday night. The teams went back and forth, with the Avalanche twice coming back to tie the game. Both teams remained scoreless after five rounds of the shootout. Brandon Yip beat Jimmy Howard in the sixth round to give the Avalanche a win.
Despite this being Josefson’s first career NHL start, MacLean believes the young Swede won’t be overwhelmed.
“[Josefson] had a good training camp and he’s going to get an opportunity here to play and I think he’ll do well,” MacLean said. “He’s a mature, young fellow. I think he’ll succeed at this level.”