Devils players and fans will have to wait until at least January to see the return of Brian Gionta, who departed for Montreal as a free agent last summer. He will be out of the Canadiens' lineup on Wednesday.
Gionta, who spent seven seasons in New Jersey, has been out of action indefinitely since Nov. 18 with a broken foot. He had eight goals and five assists in 19 games before the injury and did not make the trip.
Jersey's Team visits Montreal on Jan. 9 and will host the Canadiens on Jan. 22.
Gionta was a member of New Jersey's 2003 Stanley Cup title, and set the franchise record for goals in a season with 48 in 2005-06. Zach Parise
challenged Gionta's mark last season, falling three goals shy, and said he spoke to his former teammate on Tuesday.
"He just called me yesterday because I sent him a text asking him if he was coming into town and if he was going to play," Parise said Wednesday. "He called me yesterday morning; I talk to him every once in a while."
Parise said it has been tough for Gionta to be on the shelf.
"For him right now, he's injured and it stinks for him not playing," he said. "It’s frustrating for him, but he likes it (in Montreal). He’s playing a lot up there, playing all situations. He’s enjoying it."
The eighth-place Canadiens still have former Devil Scott Gomez in the lineup, and Parise expected a challenge from a Montreal club that plays an uptempo game.
"We haven’t seen much video on them," Parise said. "We know that they’re a lot like Buffalo. They’re really hard on the puck. They skate, they play a fast game. We kind of play that way too, fast and aggressive on the puck. It’ll be a good test for us; a good matchup."
Parise was unaware that Martin Brodeur
's next start would tie him with Patrick Roy for the most appearances by a goaltender (1,029), but said it was difficult to fathom that many games played.
"That’s a lot of starts and I guess it’s another thing that maybe you don’t realize or comprehend right now," he said. "Maybe a few years from now when you realize how much further ahead that is from everyone and you’ll have more of an idea. Right now, it’s just one of those things that’s hard to grasp, that he’s played that many games."