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At the Rink blog

Henrique returns to Devils lineup

Sunday, 02.05.2012 / 11:33 AM

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Henrique returns to Devils lineup
NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils rookie center Adam Henrique will return to the lineup Sunday afternoon for the first time since the All-Star break. Henrique has missed the last three games, all Devil wins, with a sore groin.

Devils coach Pete DeBoer said prior to the Devils game against Pittsburgh that he still isn't sure on what line he'll use Henrique. He's played the bulk of his even-strength shifts between Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise.

The Devils had to activate Henrique off injured reserve, and to do that they sent Peter Harrold back to Albany of the AHL.

"We're shooting around some line combinations now," DeBoer said roughly two hours before gametime. "We'll see how he feels after he gets through warmups before we commit to any combinations and how much he'll play, but it's big having him back. He's been a point a game guy practically the entire year. He plays all situations -- PK, PP, regular shift. He's defensively reliable and he can make other players better. We missed him. It's nice to have him back."

Henrique played in the final three games before the All-Star break, but he was held without a point. He missed the two previous games, Jan. 14 at Winnipeg and Jan. 17 at home against the Jets with a groin injury.

Martin Brodeur will start in net for New Jersey after watching Johan Hedberg make 37 saves in a 6-4 win over the Flyers on Saturday.

Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury will play opposite Brodeur. Fleury was brilliant in a 2-1 win at Boston on Saturday. He made 28 saves, including eight in the third period.

The Penguins had to endure a physical battle against the Bruins to pick up the one-goal victory while the Devils jumped out to a 6-0 lead over the Flyers. They essentially put it on cruise control in the third period, which allowed Philadelphia to mount a comeback in the third period.

Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said it's essential that the physicality the Penguins had to use Saturday carries over into the start of Sunday's game.

"Clearly they were two different types of games (Saturday)," Bylsma said. "Did they (the Devils) take their foot off the gas? With back to back games, did they look to conserve a little? Maybe they did. That certainly wasn't the case for our game. Our game got turned up as it went along, the physicality in the game was certainly there from our team, and that's where we have to be right off the hop (Sunday).

"Can we get a team that maybe has to restart after shutting it down for the last half of the game? I don't know if there is much carryover, but I'd like to prove that. I'd like to come right out and prove that there is carryover."

DeBoer doesn't necessarily care how the Devils won Saturday; he just knows it was their third win in a row, and second in as many games against teams that are ahead of them in the standings. The Devils also beat the Rangers in a shootout on Tuesday.

They can make it three straight against the three teams ahead of them in the Atlantic Division standings on Sunday.

"You guys were talking a week ago that we hadn't beaten the best teams in the League and this week I think we've made a statement and have," DeBoer said. "They haven't been textbook wins, but we've found a way to win. Good teams make you look bad in different stretches, and that is what has happened in a couple of them, but full marks to our group for playing shorthanded and finding a way to win games. This is another tough one. It's four in six and a half days here, and we've got to find some energy."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Quote of the Day

He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers