Defenseman David Schlemko and forward Tyler Kennedy will return to the New Jersey Devils lineup against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN).
Schlemko (lower body) and Kennedy (upper body) each missed the past two games, and along with forward Joseph Blandisi, they will fortify a Devils lineup missing five players because of injury.
Blandisi, recalled from Albany of the American Hockey League on Saturday after forward Jiri Tlusty was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, will play to the left of center Adam Henrique and right wing Lee Stempniak on the second line. He has seven goals and 22 points in 24 games for Albany.
"We feel like he did a nice job at center and wing, but we liked his game in Buffalo [Dec. 15] when he was on the wing," Devils coach John Hynes told Northjersey.com. "Even the versatility to have him in the lineup where we might even use him at center at some times tonight (helps), but we'd like to see him with Henrique and Stempniak and see what he can do there.
"He's got speed, he's a pretty strong player on the puck and when he was with us, he was in some situations where he was able to get some scoring chances. They didn't go in for him, but (with) his speed, he's the type of player, although a young guy, that should fit well with a Henrique and Stempniak. So, hopefully, he can capitalize on his opportunities."
The Devils begin a four-game road trip looking avoid a season-high four-game losing streak.
The Wild conclude a back-to-back set after a 2-1 win against the Dallas Stars and are 5-2-2 in their past nine games. Minnesota, which did not skate Sunday, is 2-2-3 in second games when playing on consecutive dates.
Goalie Darcy Kuemper is likely to start after missing four games because of a concussion. Kuemper backed up goalie Devan Dubynk (34 saves) on Saturday, and is 4-0-2 with a 1.26 goals-against average in his past six games.
Here are the projected lineups:
Sergey Kalinin - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri
Joseph Blandisi - Adam Henrique - Lee Stempniak
Tyler Kennedy - Jim O'Brien - Paul Thompson
Bobby Farnham - Stephen Gionta - Jordin Tootoo
Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
Jon Merrill - Damon Severson
Marc-Andre Gragnani - David Schlemko
Injured: Patrik Elias (knee), Jacob Josefson (lower body), Mike Cammalleri (upper body), Tuomo Ruutu (lower body), Jiri Tlusty (upper body), John Moore (lower body)
Scratched: Stefan Matteau, Eric Gelinas
Zach Parise – Mikko Koivu – Jason Zucker
Nino Niederreiter – Mikael Granlund – Jason Pominville
Thomas Vanek – Charlie Coyle – Justin Fontaine
Ryan Carter – Jarret Stoll – Erik Haula
Ryan Suter – Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella – Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin – Mike Reilly
Injured: Nate Prosser (hand)
Scratched: Niklas Backstrom, Chris Porter
Status report: Moore skated on his own for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury Wednesday against the Montreal Canadiens and told NorthJersey.com there's a chance he could play Tuesday at the St. Louis Blues. "I feel all right," Moore said. "Just a little stiff, lower-body tweak, but it's coming along. It's frustrating. It's kind of out of your hands in terms of the speed at which it can get better. So, it's frustrating from that, but I'm doing everything I can to get back as soon as I can." … Ruutu is on the trip, but Cammalleri, Elias and Josefson are not. … Schneider starts for the Devils.
Who's hot: Palmieri has 10 goals and 14 points in his past 20 games, and is one point from tying his NHL high of 31 points set in 2013-14. … Farnham has three goals in his past six games. … Parise, who has four goals in his past three games, leads the Wild with 15 goals despite missing nine games because of a right MCL strain. … Koivu has six goals and 12 points in his past 14 games. … Coyle has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past seven games and nine (four goals, five assists) in his past 12.