DEVILS (11-13-5) at FLYERS (9-13-5)
TV: MSG, CSN-PH
PHILADELPHIA -- The New Jersey Devils have alternated wins and losses the past five games, so forward Mike Cammalleri was blunt when he talked about what his team needed as it starts a three-game road trip Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.
"We need a winning streak here," Cammalleri said after the Devils' morning skate. "We'd love to get that going here right now."
Cammalleri will have a chance to help the Devils put a winning streak together; he'll return to the lineup after missing two games with a strained gluteus muscle.
"It's really nice to be out there," he said. "Been a couple games here. Nice to be back."
Cammalleri leads the Devils with 11 goals, but coach Peter DeBoer said having Cammalleri back in the lineup will do more than just bring a top offensive player back into the group.
"He brings us energy," DeBoer said. "We need a little shot of energy here. We're in the middle of a tough stretch. We haven't had a lot of good news lately on the injury front or the schedule front, so it's nice to get a guy that's back fresh, excited to go. He'll give us some of that."
Dainius Zubrus took part in the morning skate but said he isn't ready to play yet. He sustained a skate cut to his leg Dec. 8 against the Carolina Hurricanes, and he'll miss his second straight game.
"I'm missing a little bit of strength in my leg, in that spot," Zubrus said. "It's affecting my strength and that's holding me back."
However, Zubrus said he's lucky to be skating at all so soon after he was cut, and said he hopes to be able to play soon, hopefully sometime during a road trip that will take the Devils next to the Dallas Stars on Saturday, and the New York Islanders on Dec. 15.
"That little laceration or cut that I have is not that big," he said. "It was very close to the tendons and that could have been a very ugly, long injury. Right now it's not and I just go day-by-day."
he Flyers also are taking a day-by-day approach. They return home after a 1-3-1 road trip that left the players feeling positive despite the record. Three of the four losses were by one goal; they lost on a goal in the final seconds of regulation against the San Jose Sharks, and against the Anaheim Ducks the Flyers had a 3-1 lead before losing 5-4 in a shootout.
"I think we easily could have won the game in San Jose; we were the better team," forward Jakub Voracek said. "Anaheim we were up 3-1. I think we played way better than the previous games [before the trip]. I think we're skating better that was the big thing."
Here are the projected lineups:
Martin Havlat - Scott Gomez - Jaromir Jagr
Mike Cammalleri - Adam Henrique - Michael Ryder
Stephen Gionta - Jacob Josefson - Steve Bernier
Jordin Tootoo - Tuomo Ruutu - Mike Sislo
Jon Merrill - Marek Zidlicky
Andy Greene - Damon Severson
Seth Helgeson - Peter Harrold
Scratched: Eric Gelinas
Injured: Dainius Zubrus (leg), Travis Zajac (mumps), Adam Larsson (mumps), Patrik Elias (groin), Bryce Salvador (lower body), Ryane Clowe (head)
Michael Raffl - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek
Brayden Schenn - Scott Laughton - Wayne Simmonds
R.J. Umberger - Sean Couturier - Matt Read
Zac Rinaldo - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Chris VandeVelde
Nicklas Grossmann - Mark Streit
Nick Schultz - Braydon Coburn
Andrew MacDonald - Luke Schenn
Scratched: Carlo Colaiacovo, Michael Del Zotto, Vincent Lecavalier
Injured: Kimmo Timonen (blood clot), Ryan White (chest)
Status report: Zubrus took line rushes at center with Ruutu and Sislo at the morning skate but with him sitting out it's likely Ruutu moves to center and Tootoo goes in at left wing. DeBoer said he hadn't decided on his lineup yet. ... Luke Schenn returns to the Flyers lineup after being a healthy scratch the past two games. "Luke just has to move the puck and be simple," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "Play a hard, defensive game. Be physical, be strong at our net, kill penalties."
Who's hot: Couturier has one goal and three assists during his four-game point streak; he had one point in 10 games before that.