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Henrique practices, could go Thursday

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils

After a two-game absence, Adam Henrique (groin) was back in his familiar spot centering Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk at Wednesday's practice. He expects to take part in Thursday's morning skate and hopes to be ready for the 7 p.m. matchup with Boston.

"It was nice to get out there and get back into a practice," Henrique said. "It felt good, so I'll get some treatment and see how it is [Thursday]."

Coach Peter DeBoer said it will be important to see how Henrique feels in the morning.

"We'll see how he responds," DeBoer said. "He got through a full practice, now the question is whether it'll be sore tomorrow or not."

The Devils have won three in a row and five of their last six. Dainius Zubrus filled in for Henrique for the home-and-home sweep of Winnipeg that wrapped up with Tuesday's 5-1 victory at Prudential Center.

DeBoer was encouraged by what he observed from Henrique at practice. The freshman forward is tied with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Matt Read for the rookie goals lead (13), and second to Nugent-Hopkins in rookie assists (21) and points (34).

"I thought he looked good," DeBoer said. "Obviously, he's a key part of our team. He didn't look like he was favoring it, so that's a good sign."

But with the All-Star break approaching – and the opportunity for additional rest – the coach emphasized taking whatever time is needed.

"If he does play, we're not taking any chances or rushing him back in," he said. "It'll be because everybody feels that he can't do any further damage."

Next on the schedule, a date with the Bruins. The Devils hope to avenge their 6-1 home loss to the defending Stanley Cup champs on Jan. 4.

"We weren't, for me, emotionally involved in the game," said DeBoer. "That's a team that, if you're not ready to go nose-to-nose with them in the tough areas of the rink, you're not going to have a lot of success. For whatever reason, we were not emotionally engaged. That team will embarrass you if you're not."

New Jersey opened the scoring only to see the Bruins strike back for six unanswered goals.

"I think it's close enough that the guys don't forget what happened last game," he said. "While there's no guarantee of wins or anything, I'm sure we'll be much more ready to play and ready to compete [Thursday] night."

Jacob Josefson returned to the lineup against the Jets, making his first appearance since fracturing his clavicle on Oct. 21. He centered Ryan Carter and Mattias Tedenby, logging 13:40 of ice time and winning six of 11 faceoffs.

"It felt like it was the first game here in awhile," Josefson said. "I just tried to play it simple and not overplay stuff. First time, I got a little bit tired, but I think that's pretty normal for where I am right now."

It was a long time coming for Josefson, who missed 36 games with his second long-term injury in as many seasons.

"It felt great," he said. "It couldn't be better than to finish it with a W too. The whole team played really well and we deserved to win."

He's looking to improve in the season's second half.

"You always try to get better and better every game here, getting back all the timing and everything you have to do on the ice to help the team," he said. "It was a pretty good start and hope I can build from that."

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