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10/31 Practice update: Boyle takes another step closer to returning

New Jersey hit the ice at Rogers Arena for practice on Tuesday

by Amanda Stein @AmandaCStein /

VANCOUVER, B.C. - There was little time for the New Jersey Devils to experience any jet lag, as the team hopped on the ice at Rogers Arena for a practice in Vancouver, less than 24 hours after arriving on the West Coast. 

Coach John Hynes hosted a 60-minute practice that focused on special teams, and during which Brian Boyle took consistent reps on the fourth line for the first time.  

Tweet from @amandacstein: #NJDevils lines at practice. Looks like Noesen practicing as extra forward.

The Devils will put their 8-2-0 record on the line against the Canucks on Wednesday night, starting their longest road trip of the season yet. 

"We want to continue to build off of what we did the first 10 games," said Hynes after practice. "I think it's something we talked about. Making sure we come out on the road and get to our team identity right away. Obviously when you get off to a good start you can't control what the end results are, but we want to make sure we play a real solid game."

Tweet from @NJDevils: #NJDevils putting in lots of special teams work today in Vancouver. The puck drops here tomorrow at 10PM ET. #NJDvsVAN

One spark the Devils might have on Wednesday is Boyle. He practiced at center on the fourth line with Miles Wood and Blake Coleman on his wings. While Boyle would not say whether he is in the lineup or not come Wednesday, Hynes said a decision will be made after he sits down with the 32-year-old forward later Tuesday.

"We're going to talk to Brian here this afternoon," said Hynes, when pressed whether Boyle will play against Vancouver. "Not sure if we'll play him at wing or center. I think going into today's practice, it was a good opportunity to get Brian some reps in breakout opportunities and defensive zone coverage."

Boyle has been practicing with the team for a little over a week now, but on Tuesday he took reps on a regular unit for the first time. 

"That's another step," Boyle said. "It's a new development. Again, you work hard, you evaluate, see where you are. Fortunately for me it's been on the up and up. Hopefully I'll play here really soon."

Boyle added, "whether I'm there or I'm not, I'm doing everything I can to get there."

Tweet from @NJDevils: �� @BriBrows22 meets with the media following practice! #NJDvsVAN

Said Hynes, "He said that he felt good. We'll talk here. I'll talk with him one-on-one and I'll make the decision of what will ultimately be best for the team." 

Power play units:  
Butcher-Hall, Henrique-Hayes-Bratt 
Zacha-Severson, Johansson-Stafford-Hischier

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