Martin returns tonight vs. Penguins

Wednesday, 03.17.2010 / 1:09 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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Martin returns tonight vs. Penguins
Paul Martin
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Paul Martin finally returns to the lineup tonight.

Nearly five months since fracturing his left forearm against the Penguins, the Devils’ top defenseman will be back in action when they host the defending Stanley Cup champs.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Martin said Wednesday morning. “It’s been a while. It’s exciting just to be around the guys, to get back in there and to play a game. I’m trying not to get too excited, but I think it’ll be fun.”

Martin said physical therapist Gary Flink felt he looked better than expected in Tuesday’s practice. At Wednesday’s morning skate, Martin told head coach Jacques Lemaire that he was ready to go.

“I was shooting the puck well and everything felt good,” Martin said. “The next thing is to get in there, and it’s only going to help the sooner I get in there.”

Wednesday’s game will mark the first time this season the Devils have fielded a fully healthy lineup. After Patrik Elias missed the first 13 games of the year to recover from groin surgery, New Jersey had to cope with a slew of key injuries. David Clarkson missed 36 of 38 games with a fractured bone in his right leg, and Elias later missed another 11 games with concussion symptoms.

Jay Pandolfo was shelved for 17 games after suffering an upper body injury in the same Oct. 24 contest, and Dainius Zubrus missed 30 games after blocking a shot at Nashville in November.

"He's a big player for us," captain Jamie Langenbrunner said of Martin. "He was our No. 1 defenseman before he went out and I hope he'll be able to get back to playing that way. It's like adding a top defenseman. He basically hasn't been here all year, so it's going to be huge for us."

Martin isn’t sure what to expect in his first game back. He's likely to rest Thursday night when the club visits Toronto.

“It’s been so long that I’ll probably just keep it simple,” Martin said. “I don’t know what kind of minutes I’ll log or anything like that. But keep it simple, do the small things, and hopefully play into a comfort level that I’m used to. I don’t know how long that’s going to take, but I’m definitely excited and looking forward to it.”

Martin coming back gives the Devils another offensive threat, especially on the power play.

“He’s a great skater, plays a game where he controls the puck, makes good passes.” Lemaire said. “He can bring some offense.”

Did Martin return just to wear the team’s retro red and green?

“If I knew that, I would’ve asked Lou (Lamoriello) to get that uniform earlier,” Lemaire joked.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51