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Zubrus ready to return vs. Isles

Monday, 04.01.2013 / 11:46 AM / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com Staff Writer



 
NEWARK, N.J. -- Left wing Dainius Zubrus will make his anticipated return to the lineup on Monday when the New Jersey Devils play host to the New York Islanders at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, MSG PLUS 2, MSG PLUS).

Zubrus, who underwent surgery to repair ligament damage in his left wrist on Feb. 14, has missed the past 26 games. He's been skating on his own since mid-March and practiced with the team on Monday for the first time since he last played on Feb. 5 against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center.

"I feel good, it's been a while," Zubrus told reporters after practice. "I think I have [my stamina] back. After about 10 days after my surgery I was able to work out, so I feel like I'm in pretty good shape. I know getting back in a game situation is a little different since you battle guys and push guys, so that adds a lot more work, but it's not going to be the first time I've ever done this, so I think I'll be OK."

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello cleared a roster spot for Zubrus on Saturday when he assigned forward Tim Sestito to the team's American Hockey League affiliate, the Albany Devils.

"It's nice to have him back; it seems like it's been all year almost considering the shortened season, but we missed him," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "He's a guy that plays all situations for us when he's healthy: penalty kill, five-on-five and in the last minute of a game."

In nine games this season, Zubrus has one goal, four points, 14 hits and seven blocked shots while averaging just over 18 minutes of ice time a game. Prior to his injury, Zubrus was working the Devils' top line with center Travis Zajac and right wing Ilya Kovalchuk.

Kovalchuk, who was retroactively placed on injured reserve one day after sustaining a right shoulder injury in the third period of a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on March 23, has missed the past three games.

What is Zubrus' biggest concern?

"Well, because I haven't been skating with the full team for a while, I'll try and keep [shifts] short," Zubrus said. "I feel like my legs are OK, but I just don't want to get caught and stuck out there for too long because game days are different."

Despite losing the past three games, the Devils have managed points in five straight (2-0-3) to keep pace with teams in the Eastern Conference fighting for a playoff berth.

Here are the possible line combinations for the Devils on Monday:

Patrik Elias - Andrei Loktionov - Steve Bernier

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Travis Zajac - David Clarkson

Dainius Zubrus - Adam Henrique - Matt D'Agostini

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Tom Kostopoulos

Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne

Henrik Tallinder - Peter Harrold

Martin Brodeur

Johan Hedberg

Injured: Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder)

Scratches: Adam Larsson, Krystofer Barch, Anton Volchenkov

SCHEDULE

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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

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