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At the Rink blog

Lower-body injury sidelines Clarkson vs. Islanders

Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 11:36 AM

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

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At the Rink blog
Lower-body injury sidelines Clarkson vs. Islanders
NEWARK, N.J. -- The Devils will be without one of their three 30-goal scorers Tuesday against the Islanders as David Clarkson will miss his first game of the season with a lower-body injury.

Devils coach Pete DeBoer said Clarkson injured himself Saturday during the Devils' 5-0 win at Carolina. After an off day Sunday, Clarkson was not able to practice Monday and he stayed off the ice Tuesday morning as well.

Since the Devils already have a playoff berth locked up, DeBoer said it's better to be safe than sorry with Clarkson, who scored his 30th goal of the season in that win Saturday.

New Jersey has won three straight games.

"You show up at the rink, a guy is dealing with something, you always assume the next day he's going to be a lot better," DeBoer said. "We got to today and not that he wasn't improved, but he can't play."

Cam Janssen will draw into the lineup for the first time in seven games and play on the fourth line. Steve Bernier will bump up to take Clarkson's spot on the third line with Adam Henrique and Alexei Ponikarovsky.

Janssen has been a healthy scratch for six straight games and 11 of the last 13.

"He's been working hard in practice. He keeps himself ready," DeBoer said. "He's a great team guy. I think he's handled the role he's had this year with our group as well as anyone could. You have no doubt that he injects some energy in the lineup when he comes in."

The Devils will secure at least the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference if they beat the Islanders and Ottawa loses to Carolina. If Philadelphia picks up at least one point and Florida wins, the Devils will be locked into a 3 vs. 6 series against the Panthers.

More than seeding, though, DeBoer simply wants to see his team continue to play the way it has since a 2-1 shootout win over Chicago on March 27. He has liked what he has seen and said he believes the Devils are playing the brand of hockey they need to be playing with three games left before the playoffs.

"But that's all subject to health and everything else," DeBoer said. "You get a couple of injuries and the whole mix gets thrown into flux. I like where we're at mentally. I like where we're at system-wise. I like how we're playing. We just have to keep it together and hope for some luck on the injury front."

Johan Hedberg will get the start in net Tuesday. He has played in only five games since the All-Star break, but he's 4-0-1 in them. He made 23 saves in a 2-1 win over the Islanders on March 10.

Here is the Devils' full lineup for the game against the Islanders:

Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - Steve Bernier
Ryan Carter - Jacob Josefson - Cam Janssen

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold

Johan Hedberg
Martin Brodeur

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

Quote of the Day

It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness