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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 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 55 15 25 6 40
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
A. Henrique 53 18 18 14 36
K. Palmieri 55 20 15 3 35
T. Zajac 47 8 18 7 26
D. Schlemko 47 6 9 -8 15
A. Larsson 55 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 51 1 12 -1 13
A. Greene 55 4 6 2 10
J. Josefson 44 3 7 -14 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 24 16 6 .930 2.01
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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