NEWS

Sutter expects Rolston return in Philadelphia

Wednesday, 12.3.2008 / 3:17 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Sutter expects Rolston return in Philadelphia
Rolston could be back Thursday in Philly.
newjerseydevils.com – Brian Rolston appears poised to return for Thursday's game in Philadelphia. John Madden, sidelined for the last four games with a sore foot, is also expected back.

Head coach Brent Sutter is optimistic about his team's improving health, and said Wednesday that he hopes to preserve the chemistry that produced a season-high five-game winning streak in the final six games of November.

The Devils (12-8-2) are tied with Carolina for seventh in the East, three points behind the sixth-place Flyers. Having played 10 of 13 outside the Atlantic last month, they will face division opponents six times in December.

"It's a tough spot for guys to come back with injuries, because we see the standings and where things are, and points are crucial," Sutter said. "Players have to come back and they have to be at their best. They can't be average. If they're average they can't play. So, it's kind of a Catch-22. That's why as a coach you have to work them into situations to help them succeed and help your team to succeed. You can't have average hockey, you need everyone at their best."

Rolston, who has missed 18 games with a sprained ankle, began practicing again on Monday, while Bobby Holik, out since Oct. 18 with a broken pinkie, returned Tuesday. The recovery of their two key offseason acquisitions have been welcome signs for the Devils, who have lost 81 man-games to injury this season.

Goaltender Martin Brodeur underwent surgery on Nov. 6 to repair a biceps tendon, and defenseman Andy Greene remains out of action with a broken hand.

"It's not like we're just bringing one guy [back]," said Sutter. "It's been something that's been a work in progress here for the last few days where you're slowly getting some guys back. You'll get [Madden] back, Brian hopefully, Bobby soon, and hopefully Greenie here soon. So you want to make sure you don't take a step back because you're worried about guys catching up."

Sutter will keep an eye on the conditioning level of the returning players, as the month ahead includes four back-to-backs and two stretches of three games in four nights.

"Fact is, guys like Brian and Bobby, it is going to take some time. It's not going to happen overnight. They've been out of the lineup for a long time. They just started practicing with us. It's one thing to be in practice condition, it's another to be in game condition, not only physically, but mentally too."

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59