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10/18 Practice Update: Devils prepare for Ottawa

Travis Zajac continues to progress off the ice

by Amanda Stein @AmandaCStein /

After a big shootout win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, the Devils had an optional practice before heading out on the road Wednesday.

Coach John Hynes kept most of his players off the ice after a long night, as New Jersey will visit Ottawa on Thursday before hosting the San Jose Sharks on Friday. 

Only those who were healthy scratches against the Lightning skated. Dalton Prout, Ben Lovejoy and Stefan Noesen were all on the ice shooting on Keith Kinkaid and working alongside goaltender coach Roland Melanson. The rest of the team took part in off-ice workouts, and it's expected there will be a full morning skate on Thursday in Ottawa. 

Tweet from @amandacstein: #NJDevils - Off-ice workouts for players today. Yesterday���s scratches (and Kinkaid) all on the ice.

Hynes spoke before leaving for Ottawa and said he has not yet decided how he will use his goaltenders in the back-to-back matchup coming up. But his mind is made up on one goaltending-related matter. 

"Cory [Schneider] will not play both," Hynes said. 

On facing Ottawa, Hynes added that "puck management will be very important. We're going to have a good blend of the possession game. Also, a big part of it, and we feel like we're really suited for it, is our pursuit game. Pursuing the puck in certain areas of the ice, get pucks to areas in the offensive zone and through the neutral zone where we can access speed and get out on our hunt and pursuit." 

Tweet from @NJDevils: Coach Hynes meets with the media before the #NJDevils travel to Ottawa.

Also of note, Travis Zajac was spotted skating on his own this morning. Zajac is recovering from a torn left pectoral muscle that required surgery this off-season. His estimated recovery is four to six months, putting his return early as December or as late as February. Hynes was asked about Zajac's progression, "He looks like he's progressing very well. He's just getting back on the ice skating and doing some puck drills."

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