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Hischier returns to the lineup tonight

The Devils top line center returns as New Jersey hosts Montreal tonight at 7PM

by Amanda Stein @amandacstein /

After four straight games without their top line center, the New Jersey Devils will have Nico Hischier back in the lineup after recovering from a thumb injury. The missed games mark the first time in his career he has missed game action.

"It feels good," Hischier said. "I'm going to go out there and battle with the guys. Nobody feels great just watching the game, you'd much rather be on the ice."

Hischier will be reunited on the top line with Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri. The trio was split up against Winnipeg a week and a half ago, in the game where Hischier was injured. 

"He's a real important player for us," head coach John Hynes said. "He does everything. He's a great two-way player, he plays in all situations for us. He's smart, quick and a real identity player. It's nice to have him back and feeling good. He's excited to play."

Along with being reunited on the top line, Hischier will take back his spot on the first power play unit with Hall, Palmieri, Marcus Johansson and Will Butcher. The second unit will be comprised of Damon Severson, Pavel Zacha, Brett Seney and Miles Wood. 

The Devils have struggled with the man-advantage over the last seven games, going goal-less on the power play. Head coach John Hynes wants to see his players invest in obtaining second opportunities on the power play, reaching for the rebounds, in order to create the offense that has been lacking. That is a role Miles Wood is anxious to play. 

"That's the most important thing," Wood said. "Our puck recovery on the power play hasn't been quite there. Our first chances are there, but it's just about trying to bear down and get those second opportunities to go in."

"Right now we're in a rut," Wood added. "I think the most important thing is that we keep on getting shots to the net and create chances around the crease area and try to get one tonight. I love to be there [in front of the net]. Setting the screen, not a lot of people like to be there, I love to be there because shots go there!" 

"Better on faceoffs," Hynes said when asked what he'd like to see improve on the power play. "That gives us possession. Better on entries on our breakouts. When we get the opportunity to have sets, we have to do a good job of making sure that we're delivering the puck to the net and giving ourselves opportunities to put the puck in situations where you can score."

Hynes has elected to go with Keith Kinkaid in net and keep his defensemen the same as it was against Carolina. The Devils host the Montreal Canadiens and are playing in just their third home game in the month of November. New Jersey boasts a record of 6-1-2 at Prudential Center this season. 




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