Jay Pandolfo and Johnny Oduya will each miss one more game. Head coach Jacques Lemaire said this morning that both players will sit out tonight's meeting with Tampa Bay.
Lemaire indicated Pandolfo and Oduya would "probably" be in the lineup when New Jersey hosts Detroit on Saturday. Pandolfo (shoulder, 16 gms missed) has been out of action since Oct. 24. Oduya (lower body, 14 gms) has been out since Oct. 29.
"It’s hard to play two – especially the games today, they’re so intense – two games in two nights, it’s hard when you haven’t played for a while; you haven’t had a lot of practices," Lemaire said. "We decided tomorrow would be a good time. They’ll have a day in between (Monday's game in) Buffalo, so it will be perfect."
Pandolfo and Oduya were among seven Devils at Friday's optional morning skate, and joined Matt Corrente, Rod Pelley, Andrew Peters, Ilkka Pikkarainen and goaltender Yann Danis.
"It's exciting," Pandolfo said. "No one likes not playing. I'm looking forward to getting back. I'm sure it's going to be tough at first, but I'm excited to get back."
The left winger said it would've been tough jumping right into back-to-back games.
"It's going to be interesting to see how I respond after one game," he said. "Maybe I could've played tonight and been fine tomorrow, but maybe it's safer to just play one of the two. Maybe if we didn't have three in four nights, it would've made a difference, too. We play Monday, too, so Friday-Saturday-Monday might've been a little tough after not playing for (six weeks)."
Oduya had been eager to play today, but said the move is for the best.
"This decision is a good one," said Oduya. "Maybe it's not that smart to throw yourself into a back-to-back game situation. This will give me one game tomorrow and then I'll go back in Monday and keep going. I think it's a good idea."
He preferred making his comeback permanent rather than skating today and resting versus the Wings.
"Once you're in, you want to be in," said the blueliner. "That could've been one of the decisions I guess, but I think they talked it through and might as well give me one more day. I think it's the best way to do it."
Oduya's confident that he's ready.
"There was no issue the week I skated by myself, and nothing this week," he said. "That's behind me."