The New Jersey Devils may have returned home from a four game road trip with five more points, but they also returned home with one less healthy body.
Kyle Palmieri has a broken right foot and will be out of the lineup the next four to six weeks, the club announced this morning. Palmieri took a Matt Dumba shot off his foot on Monday night in Minnesota. Palmieri finished the game and was on the ice for the overtime winner, but was diagnosed with the broken foot on Tuesday.
After Wednesday's morning skate ahead of the team's game against the Boston Bruins, Palmieri's teammates expressed disappointment at the loss, but acknowledged it isn't insurmountable.
"It's part of the game," Brian Boyle said. "It's a big loss for us, in here and on the ice. But you just look at the way he did it. He sells out. He blocks a shot. We've got to perform, do well and pick up the slack for him. He's out, he sacrificed for us, so we have to make sure we take care of business."
This is not the first time this season the Devils have had to deal with an injury-riddled lineup. Marcus Johansson also remains out with a concussion, which means there are two pieces of the puzzle that leave a hole for younger players to fill.
"We've always won by committee here," Travis Zajac said. "We just have to make sure we come together. Guys are going to have increased roles and have an opportunity to step up and play hockey and fill the void."
Coach John Hynes reiterated that same fact.
"It's part of the league," Hynes said. "We've dealt with injuries all year long and it's about the guys that are in the lineup, not the guys that are out of the lineup."
The loss of Palmieri forces Hynes to change up his lines. Zajac will center the top line against the Bruins with Taylor Hall and Jesper Bratt on his wings. While Nico Hischier drops to the second line centering Adam Henrique and Brian Gibbons.
Jimmy Hayes draws back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last four games.
The Devils are back on home ice Wednesday night, sitting in first place in the Metropolitan Division. Wednesday's meeting is the first with the Bruins.
New Jersey is 12-5-3, while Boston is 8-7-4.
Cory Schneider will get the start in net for the Devils and will battle against Boston' Anton Khudobin who will start for the Bruins.
Boston also has some key players out of their lineup. Brad Marchand and Torey Krug will not play tonight for Boston.