NEWARK, N.J. -- Patrik Elias will return to the lineup on Thursday when the New Jersey Devils play the Vancouver Canucks here at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET).
Elias, who has two goals and four points in seven games for the Devils, had missed the past two matches with an illness. The 37-year-old Elias did some skating on his own on Wednesday and, at that time, coaches were hopeful that the veteran left wing would be back in the fold against the Canucks.
"I probably starting feeling a little better on Tuesday afternoon; that's when I was able to get out of the house," Elias said after Thursday's practice. "I had a light skate [on Wednesday] and felt good. I'm OK today."
Elias skated on a line with center Andrei Loktionov and right wing Jaromir Jagr during Thursday's morning skate.
"I was sick for five straight hours on Sunday and then got a fever and, after that, body aches," Elias said. "I lost a few pounds, but it's not a big deal. I was in bed 18 hours a day and in bed by 8 o'clock. We need to string wins together and get things going here."
The Devils are currently sixth in the Metropolitan Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference standings. Former Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider will be making his third straight start between the pipes for the Devils. The 27-year-old Schneider is 1-3-1 with a 2.21 goals-against average and .917 save percentage this season.
In addition to the return of Elias, defenseman Eric Gelinas, 22, will make his season debut for the Devils. He'll open the game paired with Adam Larsson. Gelinas was recalled on Wednesday morning when it was learned that Bryce Salvador was unavailable for a few days after going home following a death in his family. It will be Gelinas' second career game in the NHL; he made his debut last April 25 in a 3-2 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Prudential Center.
"The coaches told me to keep playing the same way I was playing in training camp, not try to do too much," Gelinas said. "My game was pretty simple in training camp and it worked out well for me. I'm going to try to do the same thing here."
Gelinas (6-foot-4, 210 pounds), a 2009 second-round pick (No. 54) by the Devils, has one goal and three points in five games for the Albany Devils in the American Hockey League this season.
He doesn't seem too concerned with making an immediate impression in order to make the decision tougher on the coaching staff to return him to Albany once Salvador returns.
"I don't know how long I'll be here for, but I'll make the most of it and see what happens," he said. "I don't make the decisions, so I'm just here and when I get the chance to jump on the ice I'm going to try to be the best I can out there."
Devils coach Peter DeBoer said Gelinas will receive some time on the power play and he's hoping the young defenseman makes use of his cannon shot from the point.
"As a team, we have to find ways to get more pucks to the net and more bodies to the net and [Gelinas] gives us some options back there," DeBoer said. "It's not just his slap shot. He's got a great snap and wrist shot, good feet and he can move along the line, so he should help us."
Patrik Elias - Andrei Loktionov - Jaromir Jagr
Rostislav Olesz - Travis Zajac - Damien Brunner
Dainius Zubrus - Adam Henrique - Michael Ryder
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov - Marek Zidlicky
Eric Gelinas - Adam Larsson
Scratched: Bryce Salvador (death in family), Jacob Josefson, Mattias Tedenby, Peter Harrold
Injured: Ryane Clowe (head)