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Martin returns tonight vs. Penguins

Wednesday, 03.17.2010 / 1:09 PM ET / 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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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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