Will Lineup Changes Help the New Jersey Devils Avoid a Record Setting Loss?
The Devils have not won a game since March 23 and are currently sitting in twelfth place in the league. While they have not been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, it certainly looks likely they will miss the postseason for the second time in three years.
Unable to break out of a horrendous scoring slump, the team has been shut out in its last two outings.
Russian top gun Ilya Kovalchuk will remain on the sidelines in this evening’s game against the Flyers. He has been out with a shoulder injury since crashing into the boards during the Devils’ last win. The winger has been practicing with the team for over a week, but continues to have discomfort in his shoulder and is unable to take his signature one-timer.
The Devils had hoped Kovalchuk would be their offensive savior and help to pull them out of this quagmire of despair, but his return seems unlikely.
Captain Bryce Salvador has not suited up for the club since taking a Zdeno Chara slap shot to the wrist. Initial x-rays were negative, however, Salvador will be seeking another medical opinion and will not be in the lineup either. His season may be done before the Devils’ is officially over.
Defenseman Anton Volchenkov still has two games left to his four game suspension by the league because of a hit to the head on Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins.
Andrei Loktionov, the Russian center acquired earlier this year from the Los Angeles Kings, will not play tonight. He will be a healthy scratch. The youngster, who started his time with the Devils on a tear, is pointless in his last seven games.
Jacob Josefson will most likely replace him in the lineup in an effort to add some new blood to shake up the offense which has been stuck in the mud for what seems like ages.
Defenseman Alex Urbom has been called up from the club’s AHL affiliate on an emergency basis.
Unless the Devils can find some life and the offense along with it, they will set a new record low reminiscent of the Mickey Mouse days of the early 1980s with a record 11 straight defeats.