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Elias practices, expected to play Friday

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils

Patrik Elias was back at practice on Thursday and is expected to play Friday when the Devils host Washington. He missed Tuesday's game against the Rangers due to illness.

"I was a little rundown and sick," Elias said. "I had it for awhile. Since last Thursday I didn't feel like myself."

The Devils' leading scorer said he was also battling a fever. Should he return, he would be playing his first home game since surpassing John MacLean's franchise record for goals.

Elias notched goals No. 347 and 348 to establish the new mark Saturday in Montreal.

"He got through practice," said coach Peter DeBoer. "He's obviously a little drained and a little tired, but he battled through it and got through an entire practice, which is a good sign.

"Based on the fact that he got through the practice, as long as there's no setbacks, I would assume he'll play."

DeBoer was asked about his team's confidence level following Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the Rangers which snapped a four-game winning streak.

"I don't see any confidence issues," he said. "I think the guys are smart enough to look at the game and realize we did a lot more right than they did, and that our team game was in a good place. We hit a hot goalie. That's going to happen."

Martin Brodeur will make his third straight start on Friday.

"A lot of things happen around the holiday season," said Brodeur, who has wins in two of his last three appearances. "Families are coming in, friends. You have to try to stay focused as much with what we need to do. I think we have to enjoy it, too. It's a great time of the year, but again, we're here to do something and if we're better prepared than the other team… I think everybody's facing the same thing during the holidays."

David Clarkson (ill) and Henrik Tallinder (back spasms) both missed Thursday's practice. Tallinder has been out of action the last three games.

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