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Devils still without injured forwards; Schneider starts

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider is expected to make his fourth straight start Monday against the Calgary Flames at Prudential Center.

Schneider (16-14-11), who made 24 saves in a 2-1 win against the Washington Capitals on Friday and 26 saves in a 3-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, has allowed two or fewer goals in five straight starts (3-0-2). He has a 1.22 goals-against average and .948 save percentage over that stretch, and ranks third in the NHL with a 2.02 GAA.

The Devils extended their point streak to a season-high seven games (4-0-3, 11 points) to keep alive their hope of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They trail the Columbus Blue Jackets by three points for the second of two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference.

"It's unfortunate we don't control our destiny," Schneider said. "It would be nice if we won all our games, but we put ourselves in a place where that's not the case. We're going to rely on a few other teams to maybe lose a few for us, but that won't matter if we don't win our games."

Schneider started seven straight (3-2-2) from Jan. 28 through Feb. 27, allowing 13 goals over that stretch.

"I'm feeling good," he said. "I felt good over the weekend and it's nice to get right back in there. It's nice to think less and just go play; that's when you play your best. We're going to need some good goaltending, whether it's me or [Martin Brodeur], so I have to be sharp and can't have a night off right now."

Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas will play left wing on the fourth line for the second straight game since the team is still without injured forwards Patrik Elias, Adam Henrique and Jacob Josefson.

"The biggest adjustment is getting in on the forecheck instead of being forechecked on," Gelinas said. "It's different reads. I'm in the pressure instead of getting the pressure, so you have to have quicker reads and find the holes that are open. That's a little different."

The Flames have won two straight and are 2-2-0 entering the final game of a five-game road swing against the Devils.

Center Sean Monahan will return to Prudential Center for the first time since hearing his name called with the No. 6 pick at the 2013 NHL Draft last June. The 19-year-old rookie has 20 goals and 32 points in 71 games.

Also making a return to the Garden State is New Jersey native Kenny Agostino, who was twice named state player of the year during his four seasons at Delbarton School in nearby Morristown. Agostino, 21, was a fifth-round pick (No. 140) of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2010 and part of the four-player trade that landed the Penguins forward Jarome Iginla in March 2013.

"It's going to be a cool experience; I've been to this building a lot to see a lot of games as a kid, so it'll be fun," said Agostino, who was born in Flanders. "My high school coach at Delbarton [Bruce Shatel] will be in attendance and he sent me a text to tell me. He said to just play hard, so I'll try and do that for him."

Agostino was a member of the 2013 NCAA national champion Yale Bulldogs. He spent four seasons at Yale and had 56 goals and 132 points in 134 games.

Calgary defenseman Mark Cundari is expected to make his season debut along the blue line in place of Christopher Breen. Cundari was traded by the St. Louis Blues in April 2013 along with goalie Reto Berra and a 2013 first-round pick (forward Emile Poirier) to the Flames in exchange for defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. Cundari had one goal and three points in four games in 2012-13.

Calgary is the third team for Cundari this season. He was sent to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League to begin the year before being loaned to the AHL's Chicago Wolves in January.

Here are the projected lineups for the Flames and Devils:


Curtis Glencross - Sean Monahan - Joe Colborne

Bryce Van Brabant - Mike Cammalleri - Jiri Hudler

Kenny Agostino - TJ Galiardi - Brian McGrattan

Ben Hanowski - Lance Bouma - Kevin Westgarth

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Chris Butler

Chad Billins - Mark Cundari

Karri Ramo

Joey MacDonald

Scratched: Christopher Breen, Paul Byron, Matt Stajan

Injured: Tyler Wotherspoon (shoulder), Markus Granlund (shoulder), Dennis Wideman (upper body), David Jones (shoulder)


Tuomo Ruutu - Travis Zajac - Jaromir Jagr

Damien Brunner - Dainius Zubrus - Michael Ryder

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Eric Gelinas - Tim Sestito - Mike Sislo

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne

Anton Volchenkov - Marek Zidlicky

Jon Merrill - Peter Harrold

Cory Schneider

Martin Brodeur

Scratched: Adam Larsson

Injured: Adam Henrique (groin), Jacob Josefson (left foot/ankle), Bryce Salvador (groin), Patrik Elias (head), Ryane Clowe (head)

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