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Kovalchuk remains out vs. Ottawa

Devils also without Salvador (wrist), Volchenkov (suspension)

Friday, 04.12.2013 / 12:11 PM / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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Kovalchuk remains out vs. Ottawa

NEWARK, N.J. -- In a season where the New Jersey Devils haven't fared well after allowing the first goal of the game, their inexplicable start in a loss to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, with a Stanley Cup Playoff berth on the line, left coach Peter DeBoer "speechless."

The club will look to make amends Friday at Prudential Center against the Ottawa Senators, marking the fifth straight meeting against a Northeast Division opponent. In addition to entering the game 1-5-6 against the Northeast this season, the Devils will be looking to snap an eight-game winless streak (0-4-4) against a team that just snapped its own five-game skid with a 3-1 win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.

The Devils will have defenseman Adam Larsson back in the lineup against the Senators after he sat out Wednesday with a sore right foot. However, the team will be without defensemen Bryce Salvador (wrist) and Anton Volchenkov (suspended), as well as right wing Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder).

Kovalchuk will miss his ninth straight game Friday. He hasn't played since injuring his right shoulder in the third period of a victory against the Florida Panthers on March 23. He did not skate with the team Friday morning and reiterated to reporters Thursday that he wasn't 100 percent.

"We have eight games left and if we don't get a win pretty soon … this is a must-win for us and while [Kovalchuk] is a big part of this team and we miss him, we've lost a lot of important guys in this room over the years and we've found a way to rise above and play and we have to do that right now," Devils forward David Clarkson said.

The Devils' winless skid coincided with Kovalchuk's injury.

"[Kovalchuk] is not ready yet," DeBoer said. "If he was close already, he'd be playing. I never said he was going to play [Friday]. You guys [the media] did, so it's the same story … he's day-to-day and not ready to play right now."

Volchenkov, sixth on the team in hits (46) and fourth in blocked shots (42), will be serving the first of a four-game suspension for his elbow to the head of Bruins forward Brad Marchand in the third period of the loss Wednesday.

"We've got eight defensemen here so you can't worry about [Volchenkov being out]," DeBoer said. "Larsson and [Peter] Harrold will be in and you have to find a way to get the job done."

Scoring that elusive first goal will be the key, as it has been all season for the Devils. New Jersey is 12-1-4 when scoring first, but 3-14-6 when yielding the first goal.

Martin Brodeur, who made 13 saves in a 5-4 loss to the Bruins on Wednesday, is expected to make his 11th straight start in goal for the Devils. Since his return to the lineup from a pinched nerve in his neck on March 21, Brodeur is 2-4-4 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .888 save percentage.

Here is how the Devils might line up:

Patrik Elias - Travis Zajac - Steve Sullivan

Dainius Zubrus - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Andrei Loktionov - Matt D'Agostini

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne

Peter Harrold - Adam Larsson

Henrik Tallinder - Marek Zidlicky

Martin Brodeur

Johan Hedberg

Scratched: Krystofer Barch, Jacob Josefson, Tom Kostopoulos

Injured: Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder), Bryce Salvador (wrist)

Suspended: Anton Volchenkov

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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