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Schneider to return, start for Devils against Panthers

Goaltender missed 16 games with groin/hip injury @NHLdotcom

New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider, who has missed the past 16 games with a groin/hip injury, will start against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-F, NHL.TV).

Schneider, who was injured in a 3-2 loss against the Boston Bruins on Jan. 23, was assigned to Binghamton of the American Hockey League and made 19 saves in a 4-1 win at Belleville on Tuesday. He rejoined the Devils in Florida on Wednesday, and was a participant at the morning skate Thursday. 

"[Goaltenders Keith Kinkaid and Eddie Lack] have just piled up points here for us, and chipped away and got us to where we are," Schneider said. "Credit to them, they've done a heck of a job but now it's up to me. It's one thing to come back and play, but I've got to be as good as these guys have been."

Schneider, 31, is 17-11-6 with a 2.79 goals-against average and .913 save percentage in 35 games for New Jersey this season. 

The Devils (33-22-8, 74 points) hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, with a five-point lead on the Columbus Blue Jackets, and are two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division. 

The Devils were 9-7-0 in the past 16 games without Schneider.

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