The New Jersey Devils are back on the ice tonight at Prudential Center. After six days off between games, the Devils host Erik Karlsson and the Ottawa Senators at 7 p.m.
The six-day break from games has been beneficial for the Devils. It was an opportunity to work on the intricacies of the game and areas where coach John Hynes wants to see his team perform better.
"It was watching video on certain things," Damon Severson said of the break after the optional morning skate on Friday. "No matter how good you are in the season you can always get better. We worked on defensive zone coverage, a little bit on coming into the defensive zone, some rush plays, some 3-on-2's. Situations in games that have happened that maybe we haven't been as sharp on."
New Jersey will have the tough challenge of testing out their week of practice against a Senators team that are very sound defensively. The Senators and Devils met just a week ago, a game where John Moore scored the overtime winner for New Jersey. The Devils are 6-2-0 this season, while the Senators are 5-1-4.
"I think the biggest challenge for us is getting through their defense," Severson said. "They always put up that wall in the neutral zone and they try to clog things up and create turnovers at the redline and not let us in our zone."
The lines set for Friday's game look like those at practice on Thursday. Steven Santini will draw back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch against San Jose. He'll be paired with John Moore.
"Steven is a very difficult player to play against," Hynes said, as he elects to put Santini back in the lineup. "We have put him in some situations where he's had to play a lot of hard minutes and he's been able to do that. He's a big strong player, very smart and moves the puck well. He's a difficult player to play against when you play him against good offensive players."
Adam Henrique will center a line with Marcus Johansson and Jesper Bratt on his wings. Henrique is enjoying the chemistry that has been building on his line, particularly with Johansson.
"He sees the ice so well," Henrique said. "He's so smooth coming through the neutral zone with the puck. He's got his head up all over the ice. With a guy like that for me, I just try and find the open areas and get to spots where he can get me the puck. Create a little bit of space for him to do what he has to do. The chemistry has been building since we've been put together and hopefully we can keep doing that moving forward."
Keith Kinkaid will get the start, and Scott Wedgewood will back up.
Kyle Palmieri did not skate this morning during the optional skate and remains out with a lower body injury.
Of note, injured players Travis Zajac, Mike McLeod and Brian Boyle skated this morning in the no-contact optional session. Dalton Prout and Mirco Mueller will be healthy scratches versus Ottawa.