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Larsson to miss meeting with Vancouver

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Adam Larsson's first game against the Sedins will have to wait.

The rookie defenseman was looking forward to facing fellow Swedes Henrik and Daniel tonight when the Vancouver Canucks visit Prudential Center. But Larsson has just one team practice under his belt since returning from a bruised back, and needs more time to get back into game shape.

"I think it was smart of the coaches not to let me play today," Larsson said after an extended on-ice session at today's optional morning skate. "I think that's the best idea. Not that I don't feel good, but just to get a few more practices. It was a smart decision."

Larsson hopes to play Sunday, when Tampa Bay comes to town.

"It's up to the coaches," said Larsson. "I have to earn a spot first. The team has played so good, I can't take anything for granted."

Tonight's meeting with Vancouver opens a stretch of three games in four nights for the Devils, who have won four in a row.

New Jersey visits the Rangers on Monday and will play 17 games in March.

"It's a really tough month next month, so I really want to be 100 percent when I get back," Larsson said.

He had been looking forward to meeting the Sedins at last month's All-Star weekend, but was unable to attend because of a wrist injury. His wait continues.

"I was really looking forward to this game," he said. "But still, I think it's more important for me to get in shape now."

Larsson tuned in last night to watch the Canucks beat the Red Wings, 4-3, in a shootout, snapping Detroit's NHL-record home winning streak at 23 games. Henrik set up two goals by twin brother Daniel.

"Those are two good guys," Larsson said. "They're amazing players, too. I actually sat and watched them yesterday against Detroit. You can actually just laugh when they're playing because it looks so easy and it seems like they have radar, or something, on each other, blind passes to each other."

Ryan Carter (hand, nine games missed) and Kurtis Foster (upper body, two games missed) are back in the lineup tonight. Defenseman Peter Harrold will fill in on the fourth forward line as needed.

Martin Brodeur will start in goal.

Projected lineups:

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