NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils coach Pete DeBoer confirmed that forward Ilya Kovalchuk will not play in either of the home-and-home games against the Washington Capitals this weekend due to a pulled leg muscle. The Devils host Washington tonight at Prudential Center and play the Capitals at Verizon Center on Saturday.
Kovalchuk has missed the last two games with a pulled leg muscle, an injury he suffered in Philadelphia last week.
"He did skate this morning, but we're in November and … we don't want to turn this into something that lingers," DeBoer said. "Lingering is probably the best way to describe it."
Vladimir Zharkov, who was recalled from Albany late Thursday, will play on the fourth line alongside Brad Mills and Cam Janssen. Rod Pelley will be the healthy scratch among the forwards.
"Early in the season we've made a habit of shuffling our fourth line around, our lines around in general," DeBoer said. "Hopefully (Zharkov brings) some energy and a different look. He's a little bit of a different player than Pelley. He plays a different game and can complement Mills and Janssen hopefully."
Martin Brodeur, who missed several games earlier in the season with a shoulder injury, is expected to get his third straight start in goal. He's won the last two, giving up just 4 goals in the process.
"I'm getting there," Brodeur told NHL.com. "The more you play the more you feel comfortable. It helps to get in somewhat of a rhythm. I didn't have one earlier due to the lack of playing. It felt for a while like the season never started for me, so this is the start of my season now."
Here are the Devils lines and defense pairings from the skate:
Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Nick Palmieri
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Mattias Tedenby - Ryan Carter - David Clarkson
Vladimir Zharkov - Brad Mills - Cam Janssen
Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
Henrik Tallinder - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl