TORONTO - It was a quiet morning for the Devils, who held an optional morning skate Wednesday ahead of their game against the Maple Leafs.
Tonight's matchup pits two undefeated teams against one another. The Devils are 2-0 while the Leafs are 3-0 this NHL season.
One player who hit the ice for the optional skate will be in the lineup tonight: Kyle Palmieri. He will return after a knee collision that forced him to leave the season opener and miss the second game of the year against the Buffalo Sabres.
"I feel good and ready to go tonight," Palmieri said after skating this morning.
On the hit from Erik Johnson itself, Palmieri described how he felt afterwards: "There was a lot of emotion, it was a weird collision. Never had one like that in my career. It was just something that there was nervousness about what it could be. I was fortunate enough not to make it out too bad."
With Palmieri back in the lineup, line changes are coming. Palmieri will return to the top line with Taylor Hall and Pavel Zacha. Jesper Bratt, who took Palmieri's place on the top line last game, drops to the second line, where he will play alongside Marcus Johansson and Nico Hischier.
Drew Stafford remains the only injured player on the two-game road trip. Coach John Hynes said Stafford is progressing well with his lower body injury, but isn't quite ready to return to the lineup.
"He skated again today, he has been day to day, but there's no reason to push him yet," Hynes said. "The fact that he is back on the ice for multiple days, hopefully he is good to go by the end of the week."
Out tonight against the Maple Leafs will be Dalton Prout and Ben Lovejoy as the Devils return to 12 forwards and six defensemen. The lineup should look something like this: