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Clowe, Salvador closing in on returns

Friday, 12.20.2013 / 2:48 PM ET / News
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Clowe, Salvador closing in on returns



 
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils expect to have two veteran players back in their lineup soon. The question is whether it's before the NHL's three-day break for Christmas or after.

Forward Ryane Clowe (concussion) and defenseman Bryce Salvador (non-displaced stress fracture in foot) participated in the morning skate Friday in advance of the Devils' game against the Anaheim Ducks at Prudential Center. Neither will play against the Ducks, but Clowe and Salvador have not been ruled out for New Jersey's upcoming road games Saturday against the Washington Capitals and Monday at the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Devils bring a two-game winning streak into their game Friday, while the Ducks have won six in a row and are 9-1-2 in their past 12 games.

"As close as possible here now," Clowe told NHL.com. "That will be the next step, get back in the game. I communicated with the coach and GM about how I felt and I think they wanted me to get in a couple more practices, maybe a little more contact, and I guess a little bit of extra patience at this point is not a big deal."

Clowe will miss his 30th straight game since sustaining a concussion Oct. 13. He said he doesn't think he'll play Saturday but would like to be able to get into a game before Christmas.

"I think I'd like to play one game before Christmas," Clowe said. "You feel both ways and understand both ways. If you don't it could be a good thing to take those three days, but on the other hand it'd be nice to go into the Christmas break that you're back and playing. By the time we get into Chicago on Sunday and practice I'll have a better idea."

For Salvador, his injury is pretty straightforward because it involves a bone. He'll miss his 27th straight game Friday since getting hurt Oct. 22, but when it's healed and he's able to play he'll play.

Clowe is different because it's a concussion, his second in as many seasons. He said he has tried to have more patience this time around.

"I think I have tested myself more this time," Clowe said. "I have had a lot of really intense skates on my own. I went through a pretty excruciating process. The first few practices were just practices, then I went to contact and the last three or four days have been a lot of contact. Definitely the steps are there. The next one is to play."

Since Clowe is a physical player the Devils are trying to make sure he's in the proper shape to handle himself in the battle areas on the ice.

"We're doing a lot of bumping and grinding with him. That's the big thing," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "He's a power forward. He's not a speed/skill guy so he's got to be able to take the pounding and be in game shape to work the boards and get into those tough areas and those battles. We want to see some of that and how he responds to that before we stick him in, but he's very close and so far he's handled his tests very well."

The mere fact Salvador and Clowe are going on the trip is exciting to them. They haven't been on the road since they've been out of the lineup. Salvador said it'll be good to get back into a routine.

"Whether I play or not we'll see but it's good to be back with the guys," Salvador said. "It's important to get back in the game mindset."

While Clowe and Salvador won't be playing Friday, DeBoer said Cory Schneider will get the start in net and he'll be making a game-time decision between Tim Sestito and Cam Janssen at one of the forward spots. Here is what the lineup should look like:

Dainius Zubrus - Travis Zajac - Jaromir Jagr

Damien Brunner - Patrik Elias - Adam Henrique

Reid Boucher - Andrei Loktionov - Michael Ryder

Tim Sestito/Cam Janssen - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne

Eric Gelinas - Marek Zidlicky

Anton Volchenkov - Jon Merrill

Cory Schneider

Martin Brodeur

Scratched: Jacob Josefson, Mattias Tedenby, Cam Janssen/Tim Sestito

Injured: Bryce Salvador (foot), Adam Larsson (lower body), Peter Harrold (foot), Ryane Clowe (concussion), Ryan Carter (lower body)

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 53 15 24 7 39
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
K. Palmieri 53 20 15 3 35
A. Henrique 51 17 16 14 33
T. Zajac 45 7 18 6 25
D. Schlemko 45 6 9 -9 15
A. Larsson 53 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 50 1 12 0 13
A. Greene 53 4 6 2 10
J. Josefson 42 3 7 -13 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 23 15 6 .929 2.03
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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