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At the Rink: Flames at Devils

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames have reached a point of desperation in an attempt to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

As a result there might expect a playoff-like intensity when the teams play at Prudential Center on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, SN).

The Devils, winners of four straight, are eight points behind the Boston Bruins for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 22 regular-season games remaining.

The Flames, who have lost three straight (0-2-1), are one point behind the Minnesota Wild for the second Western Conference wild-card spot with 22 games remaining.

"They are all must-wins [now]," Flames coach Bob Hartley said after a 1-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday. "We've been saying this for the last month but there's still lots of hockey to be played and we have to bounce back. We put ourselves in this situation so let's enjoy it. We're hoping to win every game, but if we battle and don't win then let's show the ability to bounce back."

Devils starting goaltender Cory Schneider, who is coming off a 38-save, 3-0 shutout of the Arizona Coyotes on Monday, is 4-3-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in seven career games against the Flames.

"We know what's going on here; we've kind of been chasing all year and we find ourselves in a place where we can make a push at it and maybe go for it so we're going to do that," Schneider said. "I think we've been playing desperate all year just trying to make up ground and scramble after a tough start. I don't think we're going to play tight or tense as if this was the last game of the year but we know what's at stake; we've been doing it the last three or four games."

Mike Cammalleri, who leads the Devils with 22 goals, has seven goals and 11 points in 15 career games against his former team. Cammalleri spent four of his 12 NHL seasons in Calgary.

The game marks the return of New Jersey native Johnny Gaudreau to the Prudential Center for the first time in his NHL career.

He had 51 goals and 108 points in his final two seasons at Gloucester Catholic High School in Gloucester City, N.J., including 21 goals and 27 assists to help the team to the Non-Public state final in 2009-10. He went on to star at Boston College and last season become the first New Jersey native to win the Hobey Baker Award as the top NCAA player.

Schneider, who also played at Boston College, was asked if he would be giving his fellow alum any good looks during the game.

"I don't know a lot about him," Schneider said. "I watched him a little bit. But even though he's a former Eagle I've got to make some saves against him."

As a rookie with the Flames in 2014-15, Gaudreau has 15 goals and 44 points playing on the top line with center Sean Monahan and right wing Jiri Hudler.

Four players took part in a Flames optional morning skate Wednesday so the lineup will not be confirmed until after the pregame warmup. Goalie Karri Ramo, who made 28 saves in the loss to the Rangers, is the expected starter. Ramo is 2-0-3 with a 2.64 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in six career games against the Devils.

Here are the projected lineups:


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Lance Bouma - Mikael Backlund - David Jones

Curtis Glencross - Joe Colborne - Josh Jooris

Michael Ferland - Markus Granlund - Emile Poirier

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Raphael Diaz - Deryk Engelland

Karri Ramo

Jonas Hiller

Scratched: Matt Stajan, Corey Potter, Mason Raymond, Brandon Bollig

Injured: Paul Byron (lower body), Ladislav Smid (upper body)


Tuomo Ruutu - Scott Gomez - Jaromir Jagr

Adam Henrique - Patrik Elias - Steve Bernier

Mike Cammalleri - Travis Zajac - Jordin Tootoo

Dainius Zubrus - Jacob Josefson - Stephen Gionta

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

Jon Merrill - Marek Zidlicky

Eric Gelinas - Peter Harrold

Cory Schneider

Scott Clemmensen

Scratched: Michael Ryder, Mark Fraser, Martin Havlat

Injured: Keith Kinkaid (lower leg), Damon Severson (fractured left ankle), Bryce Salvador (back), Ryane Clowe (concussion)

Status report: There will be no lineup changes for the Devils. … Hartley was forced to juggle his line combinations at the last minute against the Rangers when Raymond left the Flames to with his wife for the expected birth of his child. It's the same reason Stajan is out of the lineup. … Poirier, the 22nd pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, made his NHL debut against the Rangers on the fourth line with Michael Ferland and Markus Granlund.

Who's hot: Gaudreau has two goals and 13 points in the past 18 games. … Cammalleri has four goals and five points in the past three games.


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