NEW YORK -- New Jersey Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov will be back in the lineup Sunday afternoon against the New York Rangers (3 p.m. ET, NBC) after serving his four-game suspension for elbowing Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand on April 10.
Volchenkov is replacing Mark Fayne because coach Peter DeBoer is predicting that it will be a physical game against the Rangers and he wants to dress a lineup that is adept to playing that style.
"We put a lineup in that we think will give us the best chance to win," DeBoer said. "That's all I can tell you."
The Devils have to beat the Rangers to keep their faint hopes for a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs alive. Any type of loss will eliminate them from postseason contention.
"They're trying to secure a playoff spot and we're trying to keep ourselves alive," DeBoer said. "It doesn't get much more intense than that."
The Devils have won two in a row after a 10-game winless streak (0-6-4) to stay alive in the postseason hunt. They're coming off a 6-2 win against the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
"Guys know the situation; they know where we're at," DeBoer said. "I think they brought their best game to the rink consistently for the last month and we're finally getting rewarded for that. Hopefully it's not too little, too late."
DeBoer also said that Ilya Kovalchuk came through the game Saturday just fine. It was his first after missing 11 with a shoulder injury. He added that captain Bryce Salvador (hand) is still not skating and will not be available "in the near future."
Martin Brodeur will start in goal for the 15th straight game.
Besides the change on defense, the only other lineup change will be at center, where Andrei Loktionov will replace Jacob Josefson, who played two games in a row.
"We have to win or we are done," DeBoer said. "I think we believe as a group that we can win out, but it's not going to be easy."
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