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Schneider starts 19th straight as Devils visit Jets

by Patrick Williams

DEVILS (8-8-2) at JETS (9-7-3)

TV: MSG+ 2, TSN3

WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Jets return home for a visit from the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, and the teams will have crucial lineup decisions to make.

The status of Devils center Adam Henrique (lower body) and Jets center Mark Scheifele (knee) remain murky, but each player skated Tuesday and is likely to dress for the game.

The Devils had an optional morning skate Tuesday, but Henrique, who has missed six consecutive games, participated. He has not played since Nov. 4. To accommodate Henrique’s possible return, right wing Jordin Tootoo likely will be a healthy scratch against Winnipeg as the Devils begin a four-game road trip.

“I feel good,” Henrique said after the morning skate. “Hopefully I play [Tuesday]. It will just be a game-time decision. But I feel good. It’s the best that I’ve felt in the past week the last couple of days. We’ll make the decision [Tuesday] and go from there.”

New Jersey defenseman Jon Merrill (arm) accompanied the team on the road trip and participated in the morning skate Tuesday, but he will not dress. Merrill has missed seven games. The Devils placed defenseman Bryce Salvador (lower body) on injured reserve on Monday, where he joined left wing Ryane Clowe (concussion). Center Jacob Josefson is also likely a healthy scratch.

“[Henrique] is a key piece,” Devils left wing Mike Cammalleri said. “It gives us nice depth up front.”

Devils coach Pete DeBoer will start goaltender Cory Schneider for the 19th consecutive game, which will tie the franchise record Martin Brodeur set in the 2001-02 season.

“It’s what I was hoping for, to play a lot,” Schneider said. “I didn’t think it would probably be 19 [games] in a row to start the [season], but it’s great. You want to play. You want to play every game, and until they say that I’m not playing, I’ll keep playing. I’ve felt pretty good lately.”

Scheifele left the Jets’ 4-3 shootout loss against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday after a hit to his right knee, and his status remained unclear after the game. Scheifele sprained his MCL in the same knee last season.

Scheifele said a medical examination on Monday went well. After the morning skate Tuesday, Scheifele and coach Paul Maurice said the second-year center will be a “game-time decision” against New Jersey.

“Obviously it hurt a lot,” Scheifele said. “It definitely didn’t feel good. It felt better [Tuesday] and we’ll see how it goes. I was definitely pretty concerned. You never know with injuries. After that, I was obviously pretty rattled and a little scared. But I got some pretty good news [Monday], and I’m thankful.”

When Maurice first saw video of the play involving Scheifele, he admitted Tuesday he was concerned. However, Maurice became more optimistic after the game on Sunday.

“We got fairly early returns that it might be positive, and it was,” Maurice said.

If he plays, Maurice will move Scheifele to a line with left wing Adam Lowry and right wing Michael Frolik. Bryan Little will center a line with left wing Andrew Ladd and right wing Blake Wheeler. Mathieu Perreault will return to his natural center position and skate with Evander Kane on his left side and Dustin Byfuglien to his right.

Maurice will start goaltender Michael Hutchinson, who replaced starter Ondrej Pavelec after the first period Sunday and made 15 saves.

Here are the projected lineups:

DEVILS

Mike CammalleriTravis ZajacJaromir Jagr

Martin HavlatPatrik EliasMichael Ryder

Tuomo RuutuAdam HenriqueDamien Brunner

Dainius ZubrusStephen GiontaSteve Bernier

Andy GreeneDamon Severson

Eric GelinasMarek Zidlicky

Seth HelgesonAdam Larsson

Scratched: Peter Harrold, Jacob Josefson, Jordin Tootoo

Injured: Ryane Clowe (concussion), Jon Merrill (arm), Bryce Salvador (lower body)

JETS

Andrew LaddBryan LittleBlake Wheeler

Evander KaneMathieu PerreaultDustin Byfuglien

Adam LowryMark ScheifeleMichael Frolik

Chris ThorburnJim SlaterMatt Halischuk

Tobias EnstromZach Bogosian

Mark StuartJacob Trouba

Adam PardyPaul Postma

Michael Hutchinson

Ondrej Pavelec

Scratched: TJ Galiardi, Anthony Peluso

Injured: Grant Clitsome (illness)

Status report: The Devils recalled defenseman Peter Harrold from the Albany Devils of the American Hockey League on Monday, but he will not play against Winnipeg...Goaltender Scott Clemmensen will back up Schneider after being recalled from Albany on Monday…Winnipeg defenseman Grant Clitsome will miss his second consecutive game, and Adam Pardy will replace him in a pairing with Paul Postma.

Who's hot: The New Jersey penalty kill is on a 12-for-12 streak…Jets right wing Blake Wheeler has three goals in his past three games.

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