The New Jersey Devils are on a roll and they would like to keep it that way as they head into Air Canada Centre to face the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Devils have an impressive 8-1-1 record in their past 10 games.
Their post All-Star surge has them sitting in fourth spot in the Eastern Conference standings and they are tied with the second-place Bruins at 72 points.
“Before the break (we went on) a little bit of a slide.” said Calder Trophy candidate Adam Henrique after the morning skate. “The guys came out of the All-Star break and played really well, started finding ways to win, different ways to win, and we’ve kept that rolling.”
Henrique spent a good portion of the morning skate working on face-offs with assistant coach Adam Oates. Henrique leads all rookies with 39 points.
“That’s something we do every day, he’s one of the best faceoff guys to ever play," Henrique said. "He knows so many little things about the game that he tries to teach us and I’m just like a sponge out there and try to take it all in...He’s been a huge part of my improvement over the year.”
Martin Brodeur will get the start in goal for New Jersey. He has won his past three starts, allowing only four goals in that span. Kurtis Foster, who is dealing with a back injury, participated in drills this morning and while coach Peter DeBeor indicated he would be a game-time decision, there is reason to believe Peter Harrold will lace up in his place for the second straight game.
Anton Volchenkov was also on the ice for the morning skate, sporting a nasty cut from a puck in the face he received in a victory Sunday in Montreal.
Meanwhile, Toronto still holds onto eighth place in the East after Washington failed to pass the Maple Leafs for the final playoff spot with a shutout loss to Carolina on Monday.
Ron Wilson confirmed that both Joffrey Lupul and Carl Gunnarsson will be in the lineup tonight for the Maple Leafs. Lupul missed practice Monday with a foot injury but didn’t show any problems on the ice Tuesday morning. Gunnarsson’s ankle injury kept him from the Leafs' three-game Western Canadian tour, and they took home only two of a possible six points.
“We didn’t play so well on that Western swing against some tough teams. Back home we have to make things count, obviously in a dog fight,” said Toronto forward Colby Armstrong, who is happy in knowing that Lupul and Gunnarsson will be good to go tonight versus the Devils. “Both those guys are warriors. I think Gunner is one of the more underrated players on our team for sure. Obviously Loops (Lupul) is a big time player for our team ... those guys in our lineup is huge for our success.”
Meanwhile, the game of musical chairs continues in the Toronto crease continues as Jonas Gustavsson gets the start. He made a relief appearance for James Reimer in the Maple Leafs' last game, a 6-2 loss in Vancouver on Saturday night.