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At the Rink blog

Elias in for Devils, Neal questionable for Penguins

Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 12:56 PM

By Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

PITTSBURGH -- New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias is expected to skate Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins despite a groin injury, while Penguins forward James Neal is a game-time decision with an upper-body injury.

The Devils cleared a roster spot to activate Elias by placing defenseman Alexander Urbom on waivers Wednesday; he was claimed Thursday by the Washington Capitals.

Neal skated briefly at practice Wednesday, but left the ice when he decided he wasn't well enough to continue.

While Neal is questionable, Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta will make his NHL debut. The 2012 first-round pick (No. 22) had impressed Penguins coaches and management with his performance during training camp, and Kris Letang's injury opened a spot for his debut.

Corey Schneider will start in goal for the Devils, with Martin Brodeur serving as the backup. It will be the first time since the start of the 1993-94 season that Brodeur wasn't the Devils' opening-game starter in net. Coach Peter DeBoer said Brodeur will start the team's home opener Friday against the New York Islanders.

Here are the lineups the teams likely will use Thursday:

PENGUINS

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis

Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - Joe Vitale

Chuck Kobasew - Brandon Sutter - Beau Bennett

Tanner Glass - Dustin Jeffrey - Craig Adams

Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin

Rob Scuderi - Matt Niskanen

Olli Maatta - Robert Bortuzzo

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Deryk Engelland

Injured: Matt D'Agostini (lower body), James Neal (upper body), Kris Letang (leg), Tomas Vokoun (blood clot)

DEVILS

Ryane Clowe - Patrik Elias - Damien Brunner

Adam Henrique - Travis Zajac - Jaromir Jagr

Dainius Zubrus - Andrei Loktionov - Michael Ryder

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold

Cory Schneider

Martin Brodeur

Scratched: Jacob Josefson, Rostislav Olesz, Mark Fayne

Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1