Skip to main content

Blues' Gomez, Havlat to face former team in Devils

by Mike G. Morreale / NHL.com

BLUES (10-3-1) at DEVILS (8-5-1)

TV: FS-MW, MSG+

NEWARK, N.J. -- St. Louis Blues center Scott Gomez and wing Martin Havlat make their return to the Garden State on Tuesday to play against their former team, the New Jersey Devils, at Prudential Center.

Gomez, 35, played 58 games with the Devils last season, scoring seven goals and 34 points. He also played with the Devils from 1999-2007. The Blues signed the veteran forward to a one-year contract on Oct. 7. Havlat, 34, had five goals and 14 points in 40 games with the Devils in 2014-15. The Blues signed him to a one-year, two-way contract on Nov. 6.

Gomez has one goal, six points and has won 44.6 percent of his faceoffs in nine games. Havlat will be making his season debut, replacing Ryan Reaves in the lineup.

"We've gotten great service from Gomez and [Scottie] Upshall, and if [Havlat] can come in and give us some games it will really help us buy some more time before we start to get some players back," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said.

Gomez said while it's always nice playing in New Jersey, he views it as just another game on the schedule. Gomez has four goals and 18 points in 25 games against the Devils.

"It's a different team over there this year," Gomez said. "I've come back to play against the Devils a few other times and it's just another game. It's always fun to play in front of friends I've made forever and people I've known since being in kid though."

Devils center Adam Henrique played on a line with Gomez in the second half of last season.

"When he came in last season he became one of the leaders in the locker room," Henrique said. "He was one of the guys we looked to. We really clicked well and I got to just learn from him. He was here with the last era of Devils players too, so it was always nice to hear stories from him and he always kept things loose in the room."

Hitchcock said having Gomez share his thoughts and provide leadership in the locker room has become invaluable.

"He's been a good player, and so long as we manage how much we play him before he hits a wall will be a key," Hitchcock said. "It's not just how many years he's played in the NHL, but how many years he's played on teams with all these runs in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"His voice in the locker room is really helpful for our veteran leadership; he says the right thing and says things that coaches say and it's very helpful."

Here are the projected lineups:

BLUES

Alex Steen - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Scottie Upshall - David Backes - Robby Fabbri

Magnus Paajarvi - Scott Gomez - Troy Brouwer

Dmitrij Jaskin - Kyle Brodziak - Martin Havlat

Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester - Colton Parayko

Carl Gunnarsson - Kevin Shattenkirk

Jake Allen

Brian Elliott

Injured: Patrik Berglund (shoulder), Paul Stastny (foot), Jaden Schwartz (ankle) Steve Ott (upper body)

Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Ryan Reaves

DEVILS

Mike Cammalleri - Adam Henrique - Lee Stempniak

Sergey Kalinin - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri

Jiri Tlusty - Jacob Josefson - Jordin Tootoo

Bobby Farnham - Stephen Gionta - Brian O'Neill

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

John Moore - Damon Severson

Jon Merrill - David Schlemko

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Injured: Tuomo Ruutu (foot), Patrik Elias (knee)

Scratched: Stefan Matteau, Eric Gelinas

Status report: Fabbri was told Sunday he will remain with the Blues the rest of the season. Players are allowed to skate in nine games before teams must decide to keep them or return them to their junior team; Fabbri's ninth game will be Tuesday and his 10th is Thursday at the New York Rangers. … Ott did not travel with the Blues and will miss at least the next two games. … Former Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, an assistant general manager for the Blues, returned from a scouting trip in Finland to attend the morning skates. … Schneider will make his 12th start of the season. … Hynes had left wing Kalinin skating with Zajac and Palmieri, and Tlusty with Josefson and Tootoo at the morning skate.

Who's hot: Parayko ranks first among NHL rookie defensemen in scoring with 10 points (five goals, five assists) and ranks first with a plus-8 rating. …. Zajac has six goals and 11 points in the past eight games.

View More