Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google

NEWS

Zajac back Friday to take on Dallas

Volchenkov also likely to return

Thursday, 12.15.2011 / 3:13 PM / News
By Eric Marin
X
Share with your Friends


Zajac back Friday to take on Dallas


 
share
email
Travis Zajac finally returns to the lineup on Friday, when the Devils host the Dallas Stars.

Zajac, who will be making his season debut, is thrilled to be back. It's already set to be an unforgettable night at Prudential Center, with the Devils retiring Scott Niedermayer's No. 27 in a pregame ceremony.

“I’m definitely excited,” Zajac said. “A little anxious, but I think it’s in a good way. It’s been awhile since I’ve been around the guys in the locker room. It’s been awhile since I was able to pregame nap, too, so it’s definitely exciting.”

Zajac suffered the first significant injury of his career while working out in August, and needed surgery to repair his left Achilles tendon. Following rehab, he began practicing with the team on Dec. 7

“I feel like the game’s a little different than practice,” said Zajac. “A little more speed, a little more physical play, competitiveness. I think that’s the next step from practice and I feel good. I feel mentally and physically fit, and that’s the most important part. It’s exciting and I’m sure I’ll have a lot of adrenaline.”

The Devils’ franchise ironman, Zajac had appeared in 401 straight games before the setback. Zajac did represent Canada at the World Championship, but he hasn't played in an NHL game since April 10.

“The longest I’ve ever been off from hockey,” he said. “It’s both a good thing and a bad thing. I definitely had a break away from the game, and was able to mentally come back in a better mind frame and physically I’m right there.”

He's not the only one that’s excited. Thirty games into the season, coach Peter DeBoer will finally get his first look at one of his top pivots.

“It’s been a long road for him,” said DeBoer. “It’s nice to have him back.”

Zajac centered a line with Mattias Tedenby and Eric Boulton at Thursday’s practice. David Clarkson, normally the third-line right wing, did not skate because of a personal matter.

Zajac recently received some advice from Zach Parise, who missed much of last season following knee surgery. 

“On the plane ride home the other day, he gave me a little tip, just from him coming back last year, he said ‘You’re going to have a lot more time than you think out there,' " Zajac recalled. "I could see that. Even in practice, the first couple of days it felt like I was rushing passes and trying to get the puck off my stick as much as possible. It’s just about staying calm, staying confident and playing within yourself, not trying to do more than you need to.”

Anton Volchenkov (hand) skated in practice and is expected to play Friday after missing three games.

“He looks good, but again, we’ll see how he feels [Friday] morning,” DeBoer said.

Johan Hedberg is expected to start in net versus the Stars.

Practice lines:
Parise-Henrique-Kovalchuk
Sykora-Elias-Zubrus
Tedenby-Zajac-Boulton
Sestito-Carter-Janssen

Volchenkov-Larsson
Tallinder-Fayne
Salvador-Foster
Urbom-Taormina

Hedberg, Brodeur







 

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
8 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
9 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
10 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
11 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
M. Cammalleri 52 24 10 5 34
A. Henrique 57 12 20 -2 32
P. Elias 54 10 17 -12 27
S. Gomez 40 5 19 -10 24
T. Zajac 56 10 10 -3 20
S. Bernier 49 10 9 0 19
A. Larsson 46 3 16 5 19
M. Ryder 44 6 12 -2 18
A. Greene 64 2 13 7 15
E. Gelinas 44 5 9 -2 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 24 23 6 .928 2.17
K. Kinkaid 3 4 3 .915 2.59