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NEWS

Devils visit Washington without Carter

Wednesday, 02.20.2013 / 4:13 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils visit Washington without Carter


 
The Devils headed to Washington on Wednesday without Ryan Carter, who will miss this week's games against the Capitals.

Stefan Matteau, a healthy scratch for the last three contests, returns to the lineup and will fill Carter's spot on the third line with Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier.

Carter (upper body) was injured in the second period of Monday's game versus Ottawa and did not return. He did not make the trip to D.C., where the Devils play a rare back-to-back road set Thursday and Saturday.

"For sure it's going to be a big loss, but we have a lot of depth on this team," Bernier said. "We're going to bring Stef on our line for next game and we're going to try to keep working the same way."

The move is a change for the rookie Matteau, who has seen playing time on the top line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk.

"I'm back in the lineup, that's all I want," Matteau said. "Doesn't matter where I am. Even if I'm not in, if it's best for the team; I'm glad to be back in. I'm just going to try to stick and work as hard as I can."

Just as the Devils added Alexei Ponikarovsky to fill in for Dainius Zubrus after his wrist surgery, the hope is that Matteau can step in and help remedy Carter's absence.

"That's what you have depth for," head coach Peter DeBoer said. "That's why we keep around the number of guys we keep around. Hopefully Stef will jump in and it'll be seamless."

Matteau's physical game is considered a constant whether he's skating with goal scorers or grinders. He'll keep that mindset heading into the next two contests.

"I don't change my game," Matteau said. "(Gionta and Carter) are two great players, high-energy players. It's obviously not the same kind of game style, it's more of a forecheck game and straight lines. That's what I'm going to do."

Said DeBoer: "I think he might be better suited at this point in his career for probably the line he's going to be playing on (Thursday) night, but we think he has the capability down the road of being able to ride shotgun with a couple of skill guys in your top six. Regardless, his game doesn't change. It's up and down the wing, get to the front of the net, chip pucks in, be physical."

Matteau, 18, has already shown he can do a little of everything. He has a goal and an assist and a plus-3 mark in nine games, with as many hits as shots on goal (14).

"He's one of the guys who can play everywhere: he can play on the first line, he can play on the fourth line, as well," Bernier said. "He's got a lot of speed and very good vision. We're going to try to use that to our advantage."

Gionta welcomed Matteau onboard.

"We've talked a little bit today during practice," Gionta said. "We're still going to keep that same mentality of keeping it simple and just trying to keep that puck down low. Stef's a big body, he protects that puck well, so it should be nice."

Washington (5-9-1) sits last in the Eastern Conference with 11 points, but has won three of its last four. They saw a three-game winning streak snapped with Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Rangers.

"They've been getting better," DeBoer said. "Their team game is probably 50 percent better than it was (at the start of the season)."

The Devils (9-3-4) have won six of their last nine (6-2-1). They needed overtime for a 3-2 win over the Capitals on Jan. 25.  

The back-to-back road games will be a new experience for DeBoer.

"It's the first time i've done it in the NHL," he said. "If you're going to spend three nights somewhere, I can think of worse places than Washington. It's a good test for us. Get on the road, spend a little time together and hopefully get our game in a good place."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
M. Cammalleri 51 23 10 4 33
A. Henrique 56 12 20 -1 32
P. Elias 53 10 16 -13 26
S. Gomez 39 5 18 -9 23
M. Zidlicky 63 4 19 -7 23
T. Zajac 55 10 10 -4 20
S. Bernier 48 10 8 1 18
M. Ryder 44 6 12 -2 18
A. Larsson 45 2 16 3 18
M. Havlat 38 5 9 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 23 23 6 .927 2.19
K. Kinkaid 3 4 3 .915 2.59