By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils will begin the 40th overall season in franchise history, including their previous stops in Kansas City and Colorado, Thursday night against the Flyers in Philadelphia.

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The Devils will play their first four games on the road this season, the club’s longest season-opening road trip since 2007-08, when New Jersey went 3-5-1 in a nine-game road swing as the new Prudential Center was being completed.

The only other season-opening trip of four games or more in team history was back in 1995, when New Jersey played four games away from the Meadowlands. The Devils went 0-3-1 to open that season’s work-stoppage shortened schedule.

Thursday night’s opener will mark the fourth time New Jersey begins its season on the road against the Flyers.

Here is how the Devils fared in the previous three opening-night games in Philadelphia:

October 10, 1985: Devils 6, Flyers 5 — New Jersey trailed Philadelphia, 4-2, in the third period at the Spectrum but rallied with four goals — three by Paul Gagne in an 8:30 span to beat the defending Wales Conference champions. Greg Adams set a club record with five assists, which has been matched three times since.

October 6th, 1988: Flyers 4, Devils 1 — In New Jersey’s first game after its playoff run the previous spring, Tom Kurvers gave the Devils an early 1-0 lead, but four unanswered goals by the Flyers and 32 saves by Ron Hextall gave Philadelphia the win.

October 5th, 1989: Devils 6, Flyers 2 — New Jersey avenged the previous season’s opening-night loss thanks to two players who weren’t part of the defeat the year before. Sylvain Turgeon had the hat trick in his Devils debut and Chris Terreri made 38 saves for his first-career NHL victory.

Pete DeBoer begins his fourth season as Devils head coach. Only two other New Jersey head coaches — Jacques Lemaire (five seasons: 1993-94 through 1997-98) and Doug Carpenter (four seasons: 1984-85 through 1987-88) — have begun four or more consecutive seasons behind the Devils’ bench in club history.

The Devils’ biggest free-agent acquisition this summer was Mike Cammalleri, who left Calgary to sign a reported five-year, $30 million deal with New Jersey.

Cammalleri has worn No. 13 for most of his NHL career, but that number has never been issued to any Devils player in club history.

According to hockey-reference.com, six former Devils wore No. 13 for other teams during their NHL careers:

• Krys Barch: No. 22 w/NJD, No. 13 w/Dallas

• Bob Brooke: No. 10 w/NJD, No. 13 w/Rangers & Minnesota

• Bill Guerin: No. 12 w/NJD, No. 13 w/Boston, Dallas, St. Louis, San Jose, Islanders and Pittsburgh

• Valeri Kamensky: No. 22 w/NJD, No. 13 w/Quebec, Colorado, Rangers and Dallas

• Sergei Nemchinov: No. 12 w/NJD, No. 13 w/Rangers and Vancouver

• Mike Rupp: No. 16 & No. 17 w/NJD, No. 13 w/Phoenix

Only one player in Kansas City/Colorado/New Jersey Devils franchise history ever wore No 13: Robin Burns, who played with the Scouts for their two seasons in 1974-75 and 1975-76.

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Cammalleri will wear No. 23 for New Jersey, the number worn for seven seasons as a Devil by Scott Gomez, who was attempting to make the club on a professional tryout basis in camp.

Gomez did not make the Devils’ opening-night roster, but he is still practicing with the team and could be signed if a roster spot opens up.

The 34-year-old center is looking to become the 25th player to be re-acquired and see action with New Jersey. Only one of the Devils who had a second stint with New Jersey had more total points in his first go-round with the club than Gomez.

Here is how Gomez compares to those players who had at least 100 points in their first of two stints with New Jersey:

Player                                 G                     A                      Pts

Bobby Holik                        198                  265                      463

Scott Gomez                        116                  334                      450

Petr Sykora                          145                  205                      350

Stephane Richer                 146                  134                      280

Claude Lemieux                 125                   134                      259

Jason Arnott                       97                    124                       221

Brendan Shanahan           88                    126                       214

Brian Rolston                    81                     97                         178

Tommy Albelin                 24                    107                        131

Scott Clemmensen will begin the season as Cory Schneider’s backup. This will be the third separate stint with the Devils for Clemmensen, who signed a two-way contract with New Jersey back in July. Only two other goalies besides Clemmensen have had two stints with New Jersey: Chris Terreri and Corey Schwab.

The Devils missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season last spring, the first time New Jersey has missed the postseason in back-to-back years since the club’s first five seasons after relocating from Colorado in 1982.

The 2013-14 Devils scored 197 goals — 27th in the NHL — and allowed 195 (not counting the 13 awarded for shootout losses), sixth in the league. The 197 goals scored were just one fewer than what the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings had, and the 195 goals against were only five more than what the eventual Eastern Conference-champion New York Rangers gave up.

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