The New Jersey Devils should be a fresher team, if not a little healthier, when they try to rebound from their second loss of the season Friday against the visiting Ottawa Senators. The Devils have been idle since losing a 3-0 decision at home against San Jose on Oct. 20 for their second setback in eight games to start the season and could get three key players back in the lineup soon.
Cory Schneider (lower body) practiced Thursday and is expected to play Saturday against Arizona after perhaps backing up Keith Kinkaid in the contest versus Ottawa, while Kyle Palmieri (lower body) and Brian Boyle, who has been battling chronic myeloid leukemia, have been skating. The Devils registered a season-high 46 shots in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Senators on Oct. 19, receiving two goals and an assist from 2017 first overall draft pick Nico Hischier. Ottawa has lost five games but just one in regulation after grinding out a 5-4 triumph over Philadelphia on Thursday without three of its top forwards. Jean-Gabriel Pageau stepped up to score his first goal of the season and added two assists for the Senators, who have netted at least four tallies in six of their 10 games.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, TSN5, RDS2 (Ottawa), MSG Plus (New Jersey)
ABOUT THE SENATORS (5-1-4): Bobby Ryan is out for about a month due to a broken finger and No. 1 center Kyle Turris (viral infection) is not expected to play against New Jersey, but the versatile Zack Smith (upper body) could return after missing three games. Mark Stone tallied for the sixth time on Thursday to tie Derick Brassard for the team lead in both goals and points (10), but defenseman Erik Karlsson is hot on their heels with eight assists in five contests since returning from a foot injury. Ottawa thwarted both of the Flyers’ power plays on Thursday and leads the NHL in penalty-killing (92.6 percent).
ABOUT THE DEVILS (6-2-0): New Jersey was solid on the power play over its first six games of the season (8-for-26) but has been scoreless on nine opportunities over the last two contests, including an 0-for-5 performance against San Jose. Taylor Hall has scored just one goal but shares the team lead with rookie defenseman Will Butcher (nine assists) at nine points - two better than Hischier and Palmieri, who did not practice with the team on Thursday. Kinkaid, who is 2-1-0 with a .932 save percentage, replaced the injured Schneider and stopped all nine shots he faced against Ottawa last week to earn the victory.
1. Ottawa C Logan Brown, who was the 11th overall pick in the 2016 draft, recorded one assist in four games before being returned to Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League on Wednesday.
2. New Jersey LW Brian Gibbons, who spent the previous two seasons in the minors, has registered three goals and a plus-6 rating in eight games.
3. The Senators have earned at least one point in their last four meetings with the Devils (3-0-1).
PREDICTION: Devils 4, Senators 3