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Horcoff back in Ducks lineup vs. Devils

Forward returns following 20-game suspension

by Abbey Mastracco / Correspondent

DEVILS (33-29-7) at DUCKS (37-21-9)


ANAHEIM -- Shawn Horcoff returns to the Anaheim Ducks lineup against the New Jersey Devils on Monday at Honda Center.

The Anaheim forward served a 20-game suspension for violating terms of the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances program. Horcoff, a 14-year NHL veteran, said he's been diligently working out and is ready to help the Ducks by playing any role needed.

"I'm going to try to get involved early, go out there and do what I do and do whatever I can to help get a big win for us," Horcoff said. "When I was out, I was able to train fully. So that's the one thing you have going."

Two former Ducks make their return to Anaheim with the Devils. New Jersey forward Kyle Palmieri was selected in the first round (No. 26) by the Ducks in the 2009 NHL Draft and played nine seasons with the organization before being traded to New Jersey in the offseason. Forward Devante Smith-Pelly was selected by Anaheim in the second round (No. 42) in the 2010 draft.

"It's fun to be back but it's definitely weird to be on this side," Palmieri said. "There's a lot of memories coming into the rink today. We had a day off [Sunday] so it was nice being able to come back and spend some time in a place I lived for a couple years. I'm excited to see some old teammates and I'm excited for tonight."

Palmieri is having a breakout season. He has a career-high 25 goals and 45 points with a plus-five rating in 69 games. It's the type of production Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau always felt he was capable of. 

"Every meeting we had I said, 'You should be a 25-goal scorer,'" Boudreau said. "He's getting more opportunity this year with this team. Unfortunately with us, he always had (Corey) Perry and (Teemu) Selanne and older guys in front of him, but now he's a young guy at the forefront and he's in the prime of his career. He's got a great shot, he can skate and for not a big guy he's pretty physical. The success that he's having does not surprise me at all."

With so much depth at right wing, Palmieri was often buried during much of his tenure in Anaheim. He played on all four lines and never really found a consistent spot on any one. 

Palmieri said the experience was good for his development because he had to work harder to make himself stand out, but his situation in New Jersey is one he thinks he's more suited for. There's chemistry that's been created with center Travis Zajac and his role has been solidified. 

"I always had the confidence that I could achieve something like that," Palmieri said. "With the depth our teams had, it was tough be in those situations and you get into a routine of moving up and down the lineup. But I think in that respect, it helped me grow as a hockey player. To adjust to those situations, I think it helped a lot."

The Devils are 2-0-0 on their California road trip. The Ducks have lost three straight. 

Here are the projected lineups:


Tyler Kennedy - Adam Henrique - Devante Smith-Pelly

Reid Boucher - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri

Joseph Blandisi - Sergey Kalinin - Mike Sislo

Bobby Farnham - Stephen Gionta - Tuomo Ruutu

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

John Moore - David Schlemko  

Seth Helgeson - David Warsofsky

Keith Kinkaid

Yann Danis

Injured: Ryan Clowe (concussion), Patrik Elias (knee), Juri Tlusty (wrist), Mike Cammalleri (upper body), Cory Schneider (MCL), Jon Merrill (undisclosed), Jordin Tootoo (upper body)

Scratched: Jacob Josefson, Damon Severson


Ryan Garbutt - Ryan Getzlaf - David Perron

Jamie McGinn - Rickard Rakell - Corey Perry  

Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Shawn Horcoff - Nate Thompson - Mike Santorelli  

Cam Fowler - Simon Despres

Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson

Clayton Stoner - Korbinian Holzer

Frederik Andersen

John Gibson

Injured: Chris Stewart (jaw), Brandon Pirri (ankle), Kevin Bieksa (lower body), Sami Vatanen (upper body)

Scratched: Nick Ritchie

Status report: Vatanen and Bieksa are day-to-day. … Despres is expected to skate with Fowler, who was his primary defense partner last season. … The Devils made no changes to their lineup. … The Ducks had an optional morning skate. … Fowler is playing in his 400th NHL game. … A win for Boudreau would be his 200th victory in Anaheim. 

Who's hot: Smith-Pelly has three goals in the past five games. … Palmieri has five points in five games. … Kesler has four points in five games. … Rakell has four points in five games. … Andersen is 8-1-1 in his past 10 games and is 1-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average in his only career start against New Jersey.

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