NEWARK, N.J. -- Jack Hughes returned for the New Jersey Devils against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSGSN, MSG 2).

"I anticipate him feeling well, so we're just being precautionary and making sure everything goes well (in the pregame skate)," Devils coach Lindy Ruff said earlier Saturday.

The center missed five games because of an upper-body injury he sustained at 9:56 of the first period during a 4-1 loss at the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 3. Hughes lost his balance and crashed into the end boards after splitting a pair of St. Louis defensemen and taking a shot on goal. He briefly returned to the ice for a New Jersey power play that began at 10:50, but soon left for good.

Hughes took regular line rushes with Erik Haula and Curtis Lazar at practice Friday, and was also working on the top power-play unit.

"It was great to have him back (at practice)," Ruff said Friday. "He's been working hard even while we were gone (on the road), skating every day so it was good to get him back to practice."

At the time of his injury, Hughes led the NHL with 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 10 games. He still leads the League with a 2.00 points-per game average among players with at least 10 games played.

Hughes set Devils single-season records with 99 points (43 goals, 56 assists) and 34 even-strength goals in 78 regular-season games last season. He scored an NHL career-high nine power-play goals, which also led the Devils, and six game-winning goals. Hughes was fifth in the NHL with 336 shots on goal.

"It was great to see him out there again," Jack's brother, defenseman Luke Hughes, said Friday. "It's good for him and good for our team. Just for the team, he's our best player. ... So I think that'll bring some firepower that we need back and especially get our power play going again."

Jack Hughes helped New Jersey to the most wins (52) and points (112) in its history last season, an improvement of 25 wins and 49 points from 2021-22. He led the Devils in goals (six), points (11), even-strength goals (five) and shots on goal (45) in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games. New Jersey lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in five games in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

The Devils were without Hughes and forwards Nico Hischier (upper body) and Timo Meier (lower body) in a 5-2 win at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. Hischier will miss his ninth game; Meier did not play Thursday and will not play Saturday.

"No definitive timeline (on Meier or Hischier)," Ruff said. "It's one we just keep evaluating as the player feels."

The Devils (8-6-1) are fifth in the Metropolitan Division with 17 points, six behind the first-place Rangers (11-2-1).