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Schneider could return next week for Devils

Goaltender has missed past 13 games with hip/groin injury

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider, who has missed the past 13 games with a hip/groin injury, could return to the lineup next week.

Schneider, who was injured during a 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Jan. 23, participated in an optional skate at Prudential Center on Wednesday and said he's progressing well after his third skate since the injury.

"Compared to where I was a couple weeks ago, today was a good workout," he said. "I got a lot of volume and put myself in some more realistic situations. I'm just trying to get a feel for where I'm at and I just want to keep ramping it up. Each day I've skated it's gotten progressively more intense and game-like, so it's good.

"For me, you can easily play through discomfort, but if I come back I want to make sure I'm a difference-maker. I don't want to come back for a game or two and reaggravate it or have it get sore for a couple of games and repeat this process."

Schneider is 17-11-6 with a 2.79 goals-against average and .913 save percentage in 35 games.

Video: NJD@BOS: Schneider gloves down Marchand's wrister

Coach John Hynes said Schneider would not play against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-N, NHL.TV) and is doubtful for New Jersey's home game Saturday against the New York Islanders. The Devils' next full practice will be Monday, one day before they play at the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Hynes wouldn't speculate on Schneider's return date.

"I will say that we pushed him pretty hard Tuesday and today so those are positive signs for us," Hynes said. "He hasn't been at a team practice so we have to continue to get him in situations where he's on the ice with more people and more reactive and competitive situations. We're really sticking to the process of getting him back on the ice with light workloads and heavy workloads. He's responded well in the workouts the past three days."

The Devils (31-21-8) hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. They are 7-6-0 in the 13 games without Schneider.

"I get more nervous watching the games than playing; I'm living and dying watching the team play," Schneider said. "I'm hoping to come back and just get my intensity up right away and for the stretch we have coming up."

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