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Brunner expected back vs. Blues

by Mike G. Morreale / New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils right wing Damien Brunner is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues at Prudential Center.

Brunner, who missed the past 14 games after sustaining a sprained right knee in a loss against the Anaheim Ducks on Dec. 20, was back practicing with the team Monday and participated in the morning skate Tuesday. He will wear a brace to help stabilize the knee as a precaution.

"I'm feeling good," Brunner told "I made a good recovery and put in some good hard work last week when the guys were on the road trip. I feel comfortable to play; there's no pain."

Brunner has eight goals and 13 points in 32 games this season.

Defenseman Peter Harrold also returned to practice Monday for the first time since sustaining a right foot fracture in the third period of an overtime victory against the New York Rangers on Dec. 7. Devils coach Peter DeBoer said Harrold would be unavailable on Tuesday.

If he is good to go, Brunner will skate alongside Dainius Zubrus and Patrik Elias against the Blues.

"It'll be a tough challenge for us [against St. Louis]," Brunner said. "We have to take care of our own end and, hopefully, play a good game."

Defenseman Jon Merrill will be a healthy scratch for the Devils.

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