Martin Brodeur scratched himself from Sunday's game after feeling a twinge or a tweak or a pull (whatever language you prefer) in his back during warmups. Initially, the Devils called him day to day and said the injury wasn't believed to be serious. Brodeur sat out practice Tuesday and was sent to see a doctor.

Then, just before 5 p.m. ET, Brodeur became the third Devil to be place on injured reserve in the last two weeks. After a couple hours to think it over, I've come up with a few thoughts on the injury, the roster move and how this affects the Devils going forward...

Why so serious: The first question, obviously, is just how serious is the back injury? And subsequently, how much time will Brodeur legitimately miss? Lou Lamoriello says the doctor who examined Brodeur doesn't believe the injury is serious and the main reason behind him not playing Thursday has to do with the long plane ride to Winnipeg. OK, Lou. I'll bite. That's a fair point. As someone who has sat on a plane for more than two hours while also having a sore back, I can tell you that I was in much worse shape when I get off the plane than when I first boarded. So if there's absolutely no way the Devils want to risk aggravating the injury further by putting Marty on a plane, they still need a backup goalie in Winnipeg in case something happens to Johan Hedberg. But wait -- the Devils already added Hedberg's backup when they recalled Keith Kinkaid from Albany to take Jacob Josefson's spot. If it's all about roster flexibility for one game, mission accomplished, right? Not really -- and it comes back to something we already addressed on the blog: forward depth.

Unless Ryan Carter is activated tomorrow, the Devils only have 12 forwards, one of which is the "banged up" Stefan Matteau. If Carter doesn't feel well enough to return, then DeBoer is forced to roll a group of 12 forwards that includes Krys Barch and a wounded Matteau and if Matteau were to aggravate the injury or is unable to play his normal compliment of minutes, Pete DeBoer would either have to stretch out his top six guys or play the bottom two or three guys more minutes than he's comfortable with. But what about Pete Harrold, you say? Well, let's just cut to the chase on Harrold: He's a wasted roster space. The Devils have had plenty of opportunities to play him at wing but have repeatedly declined to do that. In the end, the Devils had no choice but to place Brodeur on IR and lose him for at least two games because of the way they've managed their roster up to this point by continuing to carry Harrold as the eight defenseman. If they had an extra forward on the NHL roster, they could have left Brodeur behind and waited to see how Carter felt. If he's healthy enough to return, then you place Brodeur on IR and give Carter the spot. Or, you could create a spot while avoiding Brodeur on IR by sending down that 13th forward as long as he doesn't have to clear waivers (Josefson). In that situation, DeBoer, hypothetically, could also pick 12 out of those 13 NHL forward and leave either Matteau or Barch on the bench. In the end, Brodeur was definitely going to miss tomorrow's game and the Devils were forced to lose him for Saturday as well because of their insistence of having eight defensemen on the NHL roster.

Trust factor: All of what I wrote above is contingent on the fact that you trust Lou. And I'm not using trust in the sense that Lou has suddenly lost his ability to be one of the best general managers in the NHL. I'm asking if you trust Lou when he tells you the injury is "minor." Remember, Ryan Carter's injury was "minor" before he went on IR and missed at least eight days. The Devils also called Dainius Zubrus' wrist injury a "minor" issue before Zubrus ended up needing surgery that will sideline him for at least four weeks. Lou hasn't said or done anything differently than almost every other GM in the NHL. Hell, look at the ubiquitous use of "upper-body," "lower-body," and the Rangers' use of "undisclosed" injuries. Teams lie about injuries. They lie to buy themselves time. They lie to give themselves leverage. And they lie sometimes just for the sake of greedily hogging information. But to play devil's advocate, what's to say Lou isn't lying about Brodeur's injury? What if Brodeur will miss more than a couple games and the Devils, in the midst of a serious funk, have to rely on Hedberg and Kinkaid for an extended length of time? Do you trust him then? Again, this is all just to play devil's advocate. As we wrote above, the way the Devils' roster is currently constructed didn't really leave them much choice but to put Brodeur on IR. But if there's anything I've learned with this team, it's not to take them at their word.

Replacement level: It seems somewhat timely that the struggling Devils are faced with starting Hedberg in possibly four straight games after we wondered aloud Sunday night whether the Devils would have to use him less going forward. After allowing two goals combined in his first three starts (2-0-1), Hedberg has allowed 14 goals over his past three (0-3-0). DeBoer says the Devils aren't giving him enough offensive help, which is true. The Devils have scored just four total goals in his last three starts. However, last I checked, the amount of goals a team scores doesn't exactly relate 100 percent to the amount of goals a goalie allows. There is a correlation in the sense that an offensive explosion or even an offensive push in the other direction takes pressure off of your goalie and forces the other team to react rather than attack. Still, what I've seen from Hedberg over those last three starts leads me to believe that he's not going to steal or maybe even win games for the Devils as a starter. That means the Devils are going to have to snap out of their offensive funk and carry the play in front of Hedberg while Brodeur is out, which is at least two games.

Those games are against Winnipeg and Buffalo, both of which are on the road. We saw on Sunday how difficult Winnipeg can be to play against if the Devils don't establish the forecheck and keep the pace of the game under control. If they can't do that, the Jets' defensemen will jump up into the play and can create mismatches that can overwhelm an average goalie (as they did Sunday). As for the Sabres, I would really like the Devils' chances with a semi-rested Hedberg in net, but are the Devils really going to play him in four straight? I don't necessarily think that's wise, which brings us to Kinkaid. We'll have a more in-depth post on Kinkaid before the weekend, but just speaking in generalities, do you want a player's first NHL start to be on the road against a desperate team and a player like Thomas Vanek? I get that the Sabres as a whole are struggling, but all I'm saying is that's an ideal situation for a rookie goalie. Especially a rookie goalie on a Devils team that is starting to slide.

Other options: For this segment, I'm going to need Devils fans to sit down. Everyone sitting down? Let's say, in the absolute worst case scenario, this is an injury that will sideline Brodeur for weeks, not days, and possibly into April. Now that you've imagined life without Marty, take several very deep breaths and remember this is all hypothetical. All set? Good. With that out of the way, let's talk about what the Devils would have in front of them if Marty were to miss a good chunk of the remainder of the season.

There are a couple goalies on the trade market that would be/are available. Chief among them of course is Roberto Luongo, who is very publicly on the block, yet maybe not on the block. It's very confusing. Luongo would obviously represent the closest quality version of a Brodeur replacement. He's got the pedigree, the skill set and the current ability to immediately step in and keep the Devils at the level they're currently playing (three points out of first in the East). He also comes with an exorbitant contract and likely a fairly stiff price tag to pry him from Vancouver. Plus, he's got a no-trade clause and a limited amount of teams for which he'd be willing to waive the clause. There's also the issue of just how willing the Canucks are to deal him considering how well he's been playing overall this season. They seem to like the idea (at least for now) of platooning him and Cory Schneider unless they get blown away by another team. With Brodeur under contract for another season after this one, I find it very hard to believe Lou would be willing to trade a can't-miss package for a 33-year-old goalie with nine years left on his contract after this season.

This brings to three other options on the trade market. One is someone Devils fans are very familiar with: Scott Clemmensen, who currently backs up Jose Theodore in Florida. Although he was never really all that with the Devils, Clemmensen has shown in the past two years that he can cover for a starting goalie for stretches and even play really well at times.  The Panthers already have their goalie of the future in the system in Jacob Markstrom, who is currently toiling in the AHL and needs an NHL roster spot. There's no market for Theodore, so the Panthers either have to leave Markstrom in the AHL for the year, roster three goalies or deal Clemmensen. I can't imagine Clemmensen would cost more than a mid-round pick, although the Devils are already light on those after the Loktionov and Ponikarovsky deals. Perhaps the Devils could offer a conditional 2014 pick that could reach third-round status based on Clemmensen's performance. Of course, Clemmensen and Hedberg would be the epitome of "stop-gap solutions" and Clemmensen has another year left on his deal with a cap hit of $1.3 million, while Hedberg has one year and $1.4 million left. One of them would have to go when/if Brodeur returns and you're essentially trading a third- or fourth-round pick for a few weeks of serviceable play. Not exactly ideal.

Okay, so with no Luongo and no Clemmensen -- I have two other options for you: the Senators' Ben Bishop and the Kings' Jonathan Bernier. Like the Panthers, the Sens have their "goalie of the future" at the AHL level in Robin Lehner. Bishop, meanwhile, is a tantalizing option. He's 6-foot-7 and has been stellar while Craig Anderson has been sidelined and at 26 years old is young enough to potentially be looked at as a long-term replacement for Brodeur. He could come in, platoon with Hedberg and then Brodeur and enter next year in maybe a 60/40 split with Marty before taking on the full-time gig in 2014-15 after Brodeur's contract is up and he retires. However, admittedly, Bishop is a bit of a wild card. He began his career in the Blues organization but was eventually traded to Ottawa for a second-round pick and seems to have dismissed a lot of the concern about his ability to move laterally and is suddenly a very attractive option on the trade market.

If you prefer a goalie with a higher ceiling and stronger pedigree, then maybe Quick is for you. The former first-round pick (11th overall in 2006) has been unofficially on the trading block ever since Jonathan Quick emerged as an All-Star-caliber goalie. He's got loads of potential, has seen his level of play increase every season and even got the experience of the Kings' Stanley Cup run last season. Of course, a guy with that kind of resume at the age of 24 comes with a high price tag in trade talks and Kings GM Dean Lombardi has made it clear he won't just trade Bernier to trade him. The Lightning, who were openly interested in adding a young, franchise-caliber goalie in the offseason, traded for Nashville product Anders Lindback instead. Would Lou be willing to sacrifice multiple young assets (Reid Boucher, maybe?) in order to acquire a 24-year-old potential franchise goalie that could learn at the feet of arguably the greatest goalie ever? That's a question for another day, but intriguing to ponder nonethteless.

Tags: Devils, Devs, Emptying The Bag, Johan Hedberg, Keith Kinkaid, Martin Brodeur, Marty Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, Editorial Aside

Jan 4, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes watches his team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeat the Devils 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)
Jan 4, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes watches his team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeat the Devils 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

The Devils extended the contract of coach John Hynes earlier this season, co-owner Josh Harris announced on Saturday.

 

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Feb 24, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) controls the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) during second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Feb 24, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) controls the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) during second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Kyle Palmieri scored two goals to lead the Devils to a 2-1 win over the Islanders on Saturday at the Prudential Center. >> Box score

Tags: Jordan Eberle, Kyle Palmieri
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Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle (11) plays the puck while being defended by New York Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (4) during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle (11) plays the puck while being defended by New York Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (4) during the third period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

There will be major subplots from the organization's past and present taking place Saturday night when the New Jersey Devils host the New York Islanders at the Prudential Center.

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Nov 26, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Michael Grabner (40) skates during the third period against the Vancouver Canucks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports  (Vincent Carchietta)
Nov 26, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Michael Grabner (40) skates during the third period against the Vancouver Canucks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

The Devils have acquired F Michael Grabner from the Rangers for a second-round draft pick and prospect Yegor Rykov, according to Darren Dreger of TSN.

Grabner, 30, leads the Rangers in goals this season with 25. On the Devils, only Taylor Hall (26 goals) has more. Grabner also has 6 assists, bringing his season's point total to 31. At the end of this season, Grabner will be an unrestricted free agent. 

Since joining the Rangers in 2016, Grabner has regained his scoring form. His first season with the Blueshirts, he scored 27 times after scoring a total of 29 times the previous three seasons combined. His career high in goals is 34, which came in his second year in the league with the Islanders in 2010/11.

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Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Devils started hot and jumped to a 2-0 lead against the Wild, but would concede four unanswered goals to lose 4-2 as Taylor Hall extended his point streak to 20 games. << Box score

First period

  • 10:27 NJD Taylor Hall (PPG); Assists: Kyle Palmieri, Sami Vatanen

Second period

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Dec 21, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save on New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Dec 21, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save on New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

To say that Taylor Hall has the complete attention of the Minnesota Wild heading into Thursday's game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center is an understatement.

Following practice Wednesday, Hall was pretty much all Wild coach Bruce Boudreau and his players talked about.

Hall is as hot as any player in the league right now, recording at least one point in all 19 games he played since the calendar flipped to 2018. His goal in Tuesday's 2-1 home-ice loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets extended his red-hot personal scoring streak and gives him 13 goals, 14 assists and 27 points since Jan. 2.

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Feb 20, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Jesper Bratt (63) and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (3) battle for the puck during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Feb 20, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Jesper Bratt (63) and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (3) battle for the puck during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Sergei Bobrovsky saved 30 of 31 shots to help the Blue Jackets eke out a 2-1 win over the Devils on Tuesday at the Prudential Center. >> Box score

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Feb 6, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) follow the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Feb 6, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) follow the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

What a difference a year makes.

Last season, the New Jersey Devils finished at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with 70 points. This season, they've matched that total in 59 games and look to add to their point total Tuesday night when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Prudential Center.

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New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier scores a first-period goal against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier scores a first-period goal against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)

The New Jersey Devils won their third straight game with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday at PNC Arena. >> Box score


First period:

  • 10:56 NJ Nico Hischier (power play); Assists: Sami Vatanen, Keith Kinkaid

Second period:

Tags: Carolina Hurricanes
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

RALEIGH, N.C. -- So many of the good feelings that had formed recently for the Carolina Hurricanes have been put aside.

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Feb 17, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New Jersey Devils goaltender Eddie Lack (31) makes a save from Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 17, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; New Jersey Devils goaltender Eddie Lack (31) makes a save from Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Eddie Lack made 48 saves and the New Jersey Devils beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Saturday night.

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New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes, top, looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes, top, looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning lean on their top players and the New Jersey Devils continue to see their top rookie become a key contributor late in the season when the teams meet Saturday at Amalie Arena.

The league-leading Lightning enter the game with three consecutive home wins after beating division rival Detroit on Thursday behind the strong play of the big three -- Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman.

Kucherov tied a career high with four points and three assists, Stamkos scored twice and Hedman added three assists as the trio combined for nine points in a 4-1 victory.

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GEICO SportsNite: Patrik Elias 00:03:11
Two-time Stanley Cup champion Patrik Elias joins GEICO SportsNite to discuss his feelings as he prepares to have his jersey retired.

New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid makes a glove save during the first period of their game against the Dallas Stars at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid makes a glove save during the first period of their game against the Dallas Stars at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Devils G Keith Kinkaid was an unlikely inclusion to the scoring section of the box score with an assist on Nico Hischier's goal in the third period. Being honest, Kinkaid said he doesn't even remember what he did.

The Devils beat the Hurricanes 5-2 to keep Carolina behind them in the standings, as New Jersey is now three points ahead. They are level on points with the Flyers in fourth, just four behind the second place Penguins. The Devils have two games in hand on Pittsburgh.

"I don't even remember what I did," Kinkaid said, via Andrew Gross of The Record. "I'll take it."

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New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports)

The Devils beat the Hurricanes as Nico Hischier tallies three points (1 G, 2 A) and Stefan Noesen scores a pair. << Box score

First period:

  • 17:20 CAR Jeff Skinner; Assists: Victor Rask, Justin Williams
  • 19:41 NJD Damon Severson; Assist: Nico Hischier

Second period:

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Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Carolina Hurricanes not only bring a three-game winning streak to the Prudential Center for Thursday's Metropolitan Division clash with the New Jersey Devils, but they also have the support of their mothers, who made the trip from Raleigh as part of a team moms' trip.

So, what does Hurricanes coach Bill Peters expect from his team on Thursday?

"You're gonna' play hard," Peters told reporters. "This is the person who brought you into the world, so you're gonna' play hard for them."

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Feb 13, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy (12) is checked by Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton (21) during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Feb 13, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy (12) is checked by Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton (21) during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

The Devils and Flyers engaged in a back-and-forth affair on Tuesday night, but Drew Stafford scored the game-winning goal in a shootout and the Devils escaped the Wells Fargo Center with a 5-4 win. >> Box score

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Feb 6, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) follow the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Feb 6, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) follow the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Claude Giroux, the NHL's reigning First Star of the Week, and the surging Philadelphia Flyers go for their fifth straight win when they host the slumping New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

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New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

The New Jersey Devils have placed top goaltender Cory Schneider on injured reserve with groin and hip injuries.

The team announced the move Monday, saying Schneider is expected to start skating next week.

Tags: Cory Schneider
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New Jersey Devils goaltender Eddie Lack makes a save on Boston Bruins center David Krejci during the first period at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils goaltender Eddie Lack makes a save on Boston Bruins center David Krejci during the first period at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

The Devils weren't able to score a game-tying goal late and lost to the Boston Bruins 5-3 on Sunday at Prudential Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 13:32 BOS Torey Krug (short handed)
  • 16:26 NJ Miles Wood; Assist: Blake Coleman
  • 19:57 BOS Tim Schaller (short handed)

Second period:

Tags: Boston Bruins
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Jan 27, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Metropolitan Division forward Brian Boyle (11) of the New Jersey Devils shoots the puck on Central Division goalie Pekka Rinne (35) of the Nashville Predators competes in the save streak challenge during the 2018 NHL All Star Game skills competition at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Jan 27, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Metropolitan Division forward Brian Boyle (11) of the New Jersey Devils shoots the puck on Central Division goalie Pekka Rinne (35) of the Nashville Predators competes in the save streak challenge during the 2018 NHL All Star Game skills competition at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

NEWARK, N.J. -- One regulation loss is a rare sight for the Boston Bruins these days. Consecutive regulation setbacks would be more of a rarity for the NHL's hottest team.

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Feb 6, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) follow the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Feb 6, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) follow the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

The Blue Jackets scored six consecutive goals before Will Butcher scored the Devils' lone goal in a lopsided 6-1 win for Columbus over New Jersey at the Nationwide Arena on Saturday night. >> Box score

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Jan 30, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Victor Antipin (93) tries to block a shot by New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Jan 30, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Victor Antipin (93) tries to block a shot by New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The New Jersey Devils and the Columbus Blue Jackets will be trying to stop going in reverse when the teams meet Saturday night at Nationwide Arena.

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Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

As Taylor Hall extended his point streak to 12 games, the Devils lost 3-2 to the Flames. << Box score

First period

  • No goals

Second period

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New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes, top, looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes, top, looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

NEWARK, N.J. -- Thursday night at the Prudential Center, the Calgary Flames bring their very successful road show into town as they face off with the New Jersey Devils.

The Flames are unbeaten in their last six road contests, with five wins in regulation and one overtime loss, and are tied with the Boston Bruins for the fewest road regulation losses on the season (5). All told, they are an impressive 14-5-5 away from the Saddledome.

All of this bodes well for a team in the midst of a season-high six-game road trip.

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Feb 6, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) follow the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)
Feb 6, 2018; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) and Ottawa Senators left wing Tom Pyatt (10) follow the puck in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports (Marc DesRosiers)

Travis Zajac scored the game's first goal on Tuesday night, but the Senators went on to score four consecutive goals and easily beat the Devils, 5-3. >> Box score

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Jan 23, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene (6) controls the puck during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
Jan 23, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene (6) controls the puck during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

OTTAWA -- It could have been a devastating loss, the but the New Jersey Devils are surviving just fine without injured No. 1 goalie Corey Schneider.

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Feb 3, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac (19) scores a goal on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith (1) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Feb 3, 2018; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac (19) scores a goal on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith (1) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Travis Zajac scored two goals, Keith Kinkaid saved 15 of 16 shots, and the Devils defeated the Penguins on Saturday night, 3-1. >> Box score

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New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes, top, looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes, top, looks on during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

The New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins are going to see quite a bit of one another down the stretch.

The Metropolitan Division rivals play four times in the next five weeks, with their first meeting of the season coming Saturday night at the Prudential Center.

"These (divisional) games are huge. We have to keep pushing the teams below us down and we want to check the guys above us," Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid said. "Now we have to go right into Saturday against Pittsburgh, and they've had a tremendous start to the second half, so we have to give it our all, play our game for a full 60 (minutes)."

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Oct 11, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier (13) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)
Oct 11, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier (13) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)

As the Devils and Flyers were tied 3-3 late in the third period, the chippy game looked destined for overtime. But with just under 90 seconds left, rookie Nico Hischier tipped Blake Coleman's pass into the net for the lead and 4-3 win.

The game got off to a fiery start, with four goals and 36 penalty minutes combined in the first period. Heading into the second period, the game was tied 2-2. There was just one more penalty in the final 40 minutes but the scoring didn't stop, as the Flyers took the lead heading into the third. Damon Severson tied the game with nine minutes left before Hischier won it...

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New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils forward Nico Hischier against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports)

The Devils score two third period goals to come from behind and beat the Flyers 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller. 

First period:

  • 3:20 NJD Kyle Palmieri (PPG); Assists: Pavel Zacha, Taylor Hall
  • 6:47 PHI Claude Giroux (PPG); Assists: Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek
  • 13:49 NJD Drew Stafford (PPG); Assists: Sami Vatanen, John Moore
  • 15:46 PHI Wayne Simmonds (PPG); Assists: Shayne Gostisbehere, Jakub Voracek

Second period:

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Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (35) makes a save against Chicago Blackhawks during first period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (35) makes a save against Chicago Blackhawks during first period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

For the third time in less than three weeks, the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils face off against one another in an important Metropolitan Division clash Thursday night at the Prudential Center.

New Jersey is tied for third in the Metro with Philadelphia two points behind.

The Flyers won the first two meetings this season, beating the Devils 5-3 in New Jersey on Jan. 13 and 3-1 in Philadelphia seven days later. Sean Couturier scored twice for the Flyers in the first victory and Travis Konecny scored once in each win.

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Jan 30, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Victor Antipin (93) tries to block a shot by New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Jan 30, 2018; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Victor Antipin (93) tries to block a shot by New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

Kyle Palmieri had a goal and an assist, Keith Kinkaid saved 27 of 28 shots, and the Devils beat the Sabres on Tuesday night, 3-1.  << Box score

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Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils appear to be heading in different directions coming out of the NHL All-Star break.

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GEICO SportsNite: Devils 00:00:27
Devils head coach John Hynes emphasizes the importance of the team starting fresh and coming out strong after the All-Star break.

Metropolitan Division forward Brian Boyle of the New Jersey Devils signs autographs for fans during the red carpet arrivals for the 2018 NHL All Star Game at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
Metropolitan Division forward Brian Boyle of the New Jersey Devils signs autographs for fans during the red carpet arrivals for the 2018 NHL All Star Game at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Devils forward Brian Boyle said he was able to embrace his first NHL All-Star Game and had his name chanted by the Amalie Arena crowd after the Metropolitan Division lost 7-4 to the Atlantic Division on Sunday.

Boyle, filling in for teammate Taylor Hall, who was unable to play due to a hand injury, did not record a point, but the former Lightning player returned to Tampa Bay for his first All-Star Game just months after he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia before the season.

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Jan 27, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Metropolitan Division forward Brian Boyle (11) of the New Jersey Devils shoots the puck on Central Division goalie Pekka Rinne (35) of the Nashville Predators competes in the save streak challenge during the 2018 NHL All Star Game skills competition at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Jan 27, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Metropolitan Division forward Brian Boyle (11) of the New Jersey Devils shoots the puck on Central Division goalie Pekka Rinne (35) of the Nashville Predators competes in the save streak challenge during the 2018 NHL All Star Game skills competition at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

Devils center Brian Boyle finished second in the NHL accuracy shooting competition on Saturday during all-star weekend festivities.

Boyle finished with a time of 11.626 seconds, behind only Vancouver's Brock Boeser, who finished in 11.136 seconds.

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Nov 9, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle (11) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period against the Edmonton Oilers at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Nov 9, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle (11) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period against the Edmonton Oilers at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

As Devils F Taylor Hall is unable to play in the All-Star game (hand) on Sunday, the NHL asked Brian Boyle to step in. He accepted and is honored he was considered. 

Boyle, who was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia before the season started, is fifth on the team in goals with 11. His story has inspired many, as he was back in action on November 1 despite the cancer diagnosis. In true Boyle fashion, he barely talked about himself when asked about the game. Instead, after expressing his gratitude, he put his focus on how he's disappointed for Hall...

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New Jersey Devils center Marcus Johansson skates during the pregame warmups for the NHL preseason game between the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils center Marcus Johansson skates during the pregame warmups for the NHL preseason game between the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

The Devils will play the Oilers twice in Sweden in regular season NHL games to start the season in 2018/19, according to Chris Johnson of Sportsnet.

For the Devils, it'll be homecomings for Swedish players Marcus Johansson and Jesper Bratt.  The team will also play an exhibition game in Switerzland before the season starts, where no. 1 overall pick Nico Hischier is from. 

The Panthers and Jets will play in Finland next season while Johnson added the possibility of China as "TBA".

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Dec 30, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen (45) controls the puck against the Washington Capitals during the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Dec 30, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen (45) controls the puck against the Washington Capitals during the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

The Devils lost to the Sabres 3-0 without Taylor Hall, Marcus Johansson and Cory Schneider as they head into the All-Star break. << Box score

First period

  • No goals

Second period

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New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall skates during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. (Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall skates during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. (Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports)

The Devils will be without Taylor Hall (hand), Marcus Johansson (concussion) and Cory Schneider (illness) against the Predators on Thursday, via Amanda Stein of the Devils. Brian Boyle (personal) is expected to play after missing the morning skate.

Hall leads the Devils in goals (17), assists (31) and points (48) as well as shots (156) this season. In 29 games, Johansson has 14 points with 5 goals and 9 assists. In 35 starts for Schneider this season, the goaltender has 17 wins and a .913 save percentage. 

Ken Appleby, 22, will make his first NHL start in goal against the Predators and Mackenzie Blackwood will be his backup. Appleby has played 65 minutes across two contests this season and has yet to allow a goal in 28 shots against. 

Tags: Cory Schneider, Taylor Hall
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Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jan 16, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the first period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The NHL's annual All-Star break commences with the completion of Thursday's schedule, and it can't arrive soon enough for the New Jersey Devils.

Beset by a string of injuries recently and bending under the weight of two wins in their last 11 games (2-7-2), the Devils host the surging Nashville Predators Thursday night at the Prudential Center.

Already without leading scorer Taylor Hall (hand), back-up goalie Keith Kinkaid (groin), 12-goal scorer Brian Gibbons (broken thumb) and defenseman Mirco Mueller (fractured clavicle), the Devils (24-15-8) not only lost their third straight game to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, they also saw starting goaltender Cory Schneider go down with a lower-body injury and veteran winger Marcus Johansson unable to finish the game after taking an elbow to the head from Brad Marchand late in the third period.

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Jan 23, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene (6) controls the puck during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
Jan 23, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene (6) controls the puck during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

The Bruins and Devils combined to score all of the game's five goals in the second period Tuesday night, but Boston managed to outscore New Jersey to secure a 3-2 win. >> Box score

Tags: Damon Severson, Pavel Zacha
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Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Dec 23, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31) during third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

BOSTON -- Rookie Charlie McAvoy has been an important part of the Boston Bruins' charge toward the top of the NHL standings.

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New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider makes a save while Detroit Red Wings left wing David Booth looks for the rebound during the first period at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider makes a save while Detroit Red Wings left wing David Booth looks for the rebound during the first period at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Cory Schneider allowed a goal in each period as the New Jersey Devils lost 3-0 to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday at Prudential Center. >> Box score


First period:

  • 6:36 DET Tyler Bertuzzi; Assists: Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou

Second period:

  • 18:12 DET David Booth; Assists: Jonathan Ericsson, Martin Frk

Third period:

  • 11:02 DET Larkin; Assists: Athanasiou, Nick Jensen
Tags: Cory Schneider, Detroit Red Wings
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New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

For most of the season, Cory Schneider was rolling along. Then he became mired in a funk and dealt with the flu.

Before the flu sidelined him for three games, Schneider went 0-3-2 with 4.13 goals-against average in his last five starts.

The good news for the New Jersey Devils is Schneider is not dealing with the flu anymore and now they hope their starting goaltender reverts to his previous form in Monday's home game against the Detroit Red Wings at the Prudential Center.

Tags: Detroit Red Wings
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New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid makes a glove save during the first period of their game against the Dallas Stars at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid makes a glove save during the first period of their game against the Dallas Stars at Prudential Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

A first-period three-goal deficit proved too much for the Devils to overcome as they lost to the Flyers 3-1. Keith Kinkaid got the start in goal for the ill Cory Schneider but left in the first period after the three goals went in and Ken Appleby made his NHL debut.  << Box score

First period

  • 3:29 PHI Travis Konecny; Assists: Scott Laughton, Shayne Gostisbehere
  • 8:30 PHI Valtteri Filppula; Assists: Radko Gudas, Michael Raffl
  • 12:15 PHI Ivan Provorov; Assists: Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny

Second period

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Dec 21, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) celebrates his goal during the second period of their game against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Dec 21, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (40) celebrates his goal during the second period of their game against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

PHILADELPHIA -- A pair of backup goaltenders are expected to take the ice when the New Jersey Devils visit the Philadelphia Flyers in a Saturday afternoon matchup.

Keith Kinkaid (7-3-2, 3.09 GAA, .898 SP) is expected to make his third straight start in place of Devils starter Cory Schneider, who practiced on Friday but is recovering from an illness. New Jersey will go with recent AHL callup Ken Appleby as Kinkaid's backup.

"I just want to pick up where we left off," said Kinkaid, who led the Devils to a 4-3 overtime win over the Capitals Thursday night. "I think we need to keep building on our game and play like the past two efforts."

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GEICO SportsNite: Devils 00:03:10
Devils center Brian Boyle discusses the team's optimism after their overtime win over the Capitals, admits there's still much to improve on.