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Devils hope Schneider will play again this season

All-Star goaltender, out with knee injury, is almost ready to practice

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach John Hynes remains hopeful goaltender Cory Schneider will play again this season.

Schneider hasn't experienced any setbacks during his rehabilitation from a Grade 1 sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee on March 4. He'll miss his ninth straight game when the Devils host the Eastern Conference-leading Washington Capitals on Friday at Prudential Center.

The Devils enter that game trailing the Philadelphia Flyers by six points for the second wild card into the playoffs from the East with eight games remaining. The Flyers have a game in hand.

Rookie goaltender Scott Wedgewood will start his third straight game after a 39-save, 3-0 win at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.

Schneider again skated in full gear and took shots from a few players on Friday morning on the practice rink at Prudential Center. He appeared fine.

Video: NJD@DAL: Schneider robs Spezza, exits with injury

"We'll be back in regular practices [again] in the next couple of days," Hynes said. "He's not going on our trip to Carolina [on Sunday]. He still has to go through those unstructured practices where he's reacting to shots in game situations.

"There's been no setbacks with him at all; it's been a natural progression of his rehab and getting himself back into playing shape."

Schneider, who was named to the NHL All-Star Game for the first time this season, is 26-23-6 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in 55 games.

Wedgewood has won his first two starts and stopped 66 of 67 shots after being recalled from Albany of the American Hockey League on Saturday.

"We feel like he's playing well right now and certainly deserves the start," Hynes said of the decision to play Wedgewood on back-to-back nights. "I think every game is challenging, and he'll be facing the second-best offense in the League against the Capitals so it'll be a big test for him. The think he's played his game, he's been poised, and his rebound control has been good and that's been the difference for him.

"He's been able to not to have a lot of chaos around the net."

Video: Cory Schneider flashes the glove with GoPro

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