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Devils' Boucher to make NHL debut vs. Canadiens

by Dan Rosen

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils forward Reid Boucher will make his NHL debut Wednesday against the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET, TSN, RDS) after being recalled by the club earlier in the day. Boucher skated on a line with Patrik Elias and Steve Bernier during the morning skate.

The Devils also placed Ryan Carter (leg) on injured reserve, retroactive to Nov. 30.

Boucher leads the Albany Devils, New Jersey's American Hockey League affiliate, with 10 goals in 21 games. He is second on the team with 18 points. He had been particularly hot of late with a goal in five straight games.

"I was hoping that a call would come soon; I wasn't expecting a call," Boucher said. "I was just trying to do what I could down there, play the best I could. I have been producing a lot the last couple of games so I was hoping it would come."

Boucher said his mother and brothers are trying to catch a flight from Michigan so they can attend his NHL debut. He wasn't sure about his father, who he said is on a business trip.

The Devils are trying to make Boucher as comfortable as possible. They're not only putting him in a top-six role on a line with Elias, but they gave him a locker stall next to rookie defenseman Eric Gelinas and one spot away from rookie defenseman Jon Merrill, who was his roommate in Albany before he was recalled earlier this season.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer said it's important to put Boucher in a scoring role and said he may get some time on the power play too.

"I think we know what he is," DeBoer said. "He's got to play in your top six, top nine. He's not going to be a checker. He's not a big guy but he has a special talent that we could use in the organization. So he'll play with Elias and we'll see how that goes.

"Patty is easy to play with. People want to play with Patty. He's a smart player, he's good defensively and he puts the puck in the right places. I think [Boucher] is fortunate to be able to play on the wing with a guy like that."

Playing for the Sarnia Sting last season, Boucher led the Ontario Hockey League with 62 goals, breaking the club record previously held by Steven Stamkos (58). Ironically, Boucher played on a line with Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk during the first half of last season. Galchenyuk will play opposite Boucher on Wednesday.

"He's a good friend of mine and I'm excited to play against him," Boucher said. "Maybe I'll give him a little extra loving out there."

Galchenyuk was surprised to learn Boucher would be in the Devils' lineup.

"I actually checked on him a few days ago to see how he was doing," Galchenyuk said.

In addition, Devils center Adam Henrique will play against the Canadiens after sustaining a lower-body injury during the team's 3-2 loss at Montreal on Monday. Henrique initially was thought to be a game-time decision, but he participated in the morning skate and was centering Damien Brunner and Michael Ryder.

"I got mixed up and was sore after," Henrique said. "I think the day off [Tuesday] helped. I feel good out there and we'll go from there."

Here is the Devils' expected lineup against the Canadiens:

Dainius Zubrus - Travis Zajac - Jaromir Jagr

Reid Boucher - Patrik Elias - Steve Bernier

Damien Brunner - Adam Henrique - Michael Ryder

Tim Sestito - Andrei Loktionov - Cam Janssen

Anton Volchenkov - Marek Zidlicky

Mark Fayne - Andy Greene

Eric Gelinas - Jon Merrill

Cory Schneider

Martin Brodeur

Scratched: Mattias Tedenby, Jacob Josefson, Peter Harrold

Injured: Adam Larsson (lower body), Bryce Salvador (foot), Ryan Carter (lower body), Stephen Gionta (ankle), Ryane Clowe (head)


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