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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 - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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