NEWARK, N.J. --
As if New Jersey Devils
fans needed additional good news these days, on top of a successful climb up the Eastern Conference standings in recent weeks, the team is also regaining its health.
In the midst of a 9-1-1 run since the All-Star break, which has catapulted the team from eighth to fourth in the Eastern Conference, the Devils will have defenseman Kurtis Foster
, who missed the last two games with back stiffness, and forward Ryan Carter
(eight games, right hand fracture) back in the lineup against the Vancouver Canucks
on Friday at Prudential Center.
Coach Peter DeBoer
, who confirmed the return of the players after his team's practice, also noted that defenseman Adam Larsson
will miss his 10th straight game with a bruised lower back. Larsson skated with the team the last two practices, but DeBoer wants the rookie at 100 percent before re-inserting him in the lineup.
"[Larsson] has had one full contact practice with the team in three weeks, so we want to make sure we do the right thing," DeBoer said.
Both Foster, who will begin the game alongside Matt Taormina
, and Carter, who opens on left wing with center Jacob Josefson
and right wing Peter Harrold
, are looking forward to their return.
"I'm ready to get back in there and play a big game against the Canucks, who play a well-rounded game; the Sedins are top players in the game," Foster said. "We have to make sure it's a difficult game for them."
Carter, notified by DeBoer that he'd be in the lineup on Friday morning, said you can only watch from the sideline for so long before getting that itch to return to the lineup.
"It's that time of the year that's crunch time," Carter said. "I just want to keep it simple. You don't want to go out and try to win it yourself, so I'll just work my way into it and go from there."
The timing is impeccable as the Canucks, the League's top team on the road, are coming off an emotional 4-3 shootout decision over the Detroit Red Wings
on Thursday. The victory ended Detroit's NHL-record home winning streak at 23 games.
"This is a great test for us to see how we match," DeBoer said. "The Sedins seem to know where each is on the ice. They almost invite contact and say, 'Come on out here and try and hit us.' Then they expose areas behind you better than anyone in the League … they're fantastic at that. So while you want to take away their time and space, you have to be aware they are dangerous in those situations if you get a little bit reckless."
leads the team with 66 points, including 53 assists. He holds a three point lead on twin brother, Daniel, who owns a team-leading 28 goals.
Here is how the Devils will likely line up on Friday:
- Adam Henrique
- Ilya Kovalchuk
- Patrik Elias
- David Clarkson
- Dainius Zubrus
- Steve Bernier
- Jacob Josefson
- Peter Harrold
- Anton Volchenkov
- Mark Fayne
- Kurtis Foster
will make his fifth straight start and Johan Hedberg
will serve as backup.