NEWS

Devils prepare for Isles; Fraser returns

Wednesday, 12.22.2010 / 4:54 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils prepare for Isles; Fraser returns
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Call it a must-win game for the Devils.

Because if they are to stay away from at least a share of the NHL cellar, they will likely need a victory against the New York Islanders Thursday at the Rock.

The Devils (9-22-2) entered Wednesday's action with a two-point lead on the bottom spot held by the Islanders. A win and they could move as many as four points away from the League basement, pending the outcome of the Islanders' meeting with Tampa Bay.

A loss and the Devils would be precariously positioned with an Isles team that has dropped 21 of its last 23, including a 14-game losing streak. New York snapped that skid with a 2-0 win over the Devils on Nov. 26.

“We need to get a win,” John MacLean said. “It happens that we’re playing the Islanders (Thursday). But we need, ourselves, to get a win, and that’s what we need to focus on.”

MacLean’s squad is looking to end a slide that reached three games with Tuesday’s 5-1 defeat in Washington. The Devils’ last five wins have all come on home ice.

“Unfortunately for the Islanders, they’ve been through that for a few years,” said Martin Brodeur, who will make his seventh straight start. “Us, it’s new to us. We’re looking at us more than anybody else right now. It wasn’t the Washington Capitals, it was us last night. That’s the bottom line. I think we have to look at ourselves, what we do, and try to make it a better team.

“Games, they come and go, but our team is staying together. We need to figure something out and start having fun playing the game. The only thing is winning that will bring that back.”

— Mark Fraser (fractured hand) has missed 29 games, and returned to practice with the team on Wednesday. He’s been cleared for contact, but won’t play Thursday.

“It’s been a very long time,” Fraser said. “It feels good (to be back). I’ve been skating for a few weeks now, so the legs and everything feel good. It’s just nice to get out there with the guys and try to get some timing back, and just be a part of the team again.”

He’s taking it day by day for now.

“I’ve yet to really make a hit or take a hit, battle, move the puck,” Fraser said. “I’ve had one practice with the guys; one practice with the guys is a lot different than getting ready for a game.”

MacLean said it’s tough for a player to miss eight weeks, adding there’s no window for a return just yet. Fraser was hurt in the fourth game of the season, fracturing his hand in a fight with Buffalo’s Cody McCormick on Oct. 13

“I’m not sure what the window is because it kind of falls in a funny spot here with the holidays coming up, then playing right after the holidays,” MacLean said. “We’ll have to just monitor it day to day and see where he’s at when we get some practice time.”

–- MacLean reviewed the video of Tuesday’s loss with the team. Patrik Elias’ power-play tally tied it, 1-1, in the second period before Washington responded with four unanswered goals.

“We made some mistakes and we paid for them, so you have to watch them to try and correct them and try not to make the same mistakes over again,” MacLean said.

The coach said he emphasized the importance of players calling out assignments and reads on the ice.

“Talking is communicating on the ice, whether it’s, ‘I got him,’ or ‘You get him,’” he said. “You can’t read somebody else’s mind, but you can tell him what you’re thinking. Communication needs to be a little better.”

–- Ilya Kovalchuk (ill) did not practice but is expected to play Thursday.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 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