"I pride myself on other players not wanting to play against me," Konopka said. "Not just because of the fighting and hitting but just overall strength. I’m looking forward to that and also the penalty kill. I killed a lot early in Minnesota and kind of everywhere else I’ve been."
Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said Konopka will likely start on a line with John Scott and Matt Ellis. Rookie defenseman Brayden McNabb will also play against the Devils. Alexander Sulzer will be scratched.
Ryan Miller was the first goalie off at morning skate and will start.
The Devils will get defenseman Anton Volchenkov back on the against the Sabres. Volchenkov has missed the past three games with general body soreness.
With Volchenkov coming off of injured reserve, the Devils sent Eric Gelinas to the American Hockey League to make room for him. Gelinas had been playing well in his rookie season with four goals and 16 points.
"I think like a lot of young guys, you can almost map it out," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said of Gelinas. "He came up and everything went right for a while and when the points dried up, like a lot of young guys, I think the tendency is to push a little bit to create more. Unfortunately it was at the expense of the defensive game."
The Devils are coming off a 5-3 loss Friday night to the Chicago Blackhawks. New Jersey is 7-1-3 in the second game of back-to-back game this season.
"We’re a veteran group," DeBoer said. "I think because we’re a system-oriented team, you know, the energy level doesn’t necessarily mean as much. I think our positioning and the way we play the game I think is more important. I think we can rely on our structure in these situations. I think that helps."
As for the lineups, here’s how they may look:
Bryce Salvador – John Merrill