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Over eight months have passed since Brendan Shanahan's last NHL game. It's been much longer since he's played for the Devils.
A former first-round pick of the Devils, Shanahan has joined New Jersey as it continues a season-high six-game road trip Friday against the surging Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m., MSG Plus, WFAN 660 AM).
Shanahan reached a tentative agreement with the Devils (25-15-3) last weekend before signing the deal Thursday.
Shanahan enters his 21st NHL season by returning to the team that made him the second overall selection in the 1987 draft. After four years with New Jersey, he signed with St. Louis then played for Hartford and Detroit - which he helped win three Stanley Cup championships - before joining New York.
In 1,490 games, the eight-time All-Star has collected 650 goals and 1,340 points to rank 11th and 24th, respectively, on the NHL's all-time lists.
"You can never have enough experience. He knows what it takes to win," said Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello, who was in his first year at that position when Shanahan was a rookie.
Shanahan - a 20-goal scorer in each of his previous 19 seasons - finished with 23 goals and 46 points for the Rangers in 2007-08, though he was limited to 73 games due to a bothersome knee. He joins the Devils for the fourth stop on their road swing, which continues Saturday at Long Island and concludes Monday at Nashville.
"I've got a burning desire to get back and help and make an impact on my new team," said Shanahan, who has 13 goals and 29 points in 29 games against the Blue Jackets (21-18-4).
The Devils have won two of the first three contests on their trip. In Tuesday's 5-3 victory over Vancouver, five players scored in support of Scott Clemmensen, who made 26 saves to snap a personal three-game losing streak.
New Jersey is 4-2-1 with a tie all-time against Columbus, going 2-2-1 at Nationwide Arena, where the Blue Jackets have won eight of their last nine. This is the teams' first meeting since the Devils won 1-0 at home on Oct. 28, 2006.
Columbus enters seeking to sweep a three-game homestand and improve to 8-1-1 versus Eastern Conference teams.
Against Colorado on Tuesday night, the Blue Jackets scored three times in a 2:25 span of the third period to pull out a 4-3 victory. Kristian Huselius had a goal and two assists, while R.J. Umberger had a goal and an assist for Columbus, which has won three straight despite playing without captain and leading scorer Rick Nash (lower-body injury).
Columbus has won seven of its last nine behind rookie Steve Mason, who boasts a 1.45 goals-against average in those outings. Mason tops the NHL with a 1.80 GAA and six shutouts, and is among the league leaders with a .936 save percentage.
with AP wire services
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