Wednesday’s New Jersey Devils morning skate certainly brought a lot to digest. However, the biggest takeaway — and the best news — is that Devils star forward Timo Meier is returning to the lineup.
Meier has been absent from the Devils lineup since suffering a “mid-body” injury on Dec. 30th against the Boston Bruins. However, he stepped onto the ice this morning and into line rushes alongside Michael McLeod and Dawson Mercer.
Following skate, Devils head coach Lindy Ruff determined Meier is “good to go,” and he will be in the lineup tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. Meier skated every day while the Devils were on their three-game road trip.
“I feel good,” Meier said. “I’m really excited to join (the lineup) again and get to work. I thought they had a good road trip in some tight games with some good hockey. Now, it’s time to get some points in some real important games.”
“Every time you come back from injury you try to go out there and keep it simple in the beginning, focus on the small tasks,” Meier continued. “I wanna go help the team any way I can (whether) it’s finishing a check, blocking a shot, or winning those 50/50 battles.”
Luke Hughes was missing from the Devils’ morning skate. The Devils confirmed the 20-year-old defenseman is fighting an illness bug, however, he’s still projected to be in the lineup against the Canadiens.
Brendan Smith was also missing from morning skate. He, however, will not play tonight or for the next little while according to Lindy Ruff.
“Brendan (Smith) has a sprained knee,” Ruff explained. “He’s still being evaluated. He’s going to be out for a little bit of time.”
Jack Hughes remains “week-to-week.” He’ll miss his fifth game in a row tonight.
Wednesday’s Morning Workflow
Projected Devils Lineup
Tyler Tofoli – Nico Hischier – Jesper Bratt
Timo Meier – Michael McLeod – Dawson Mercer
Erik Haula – Curtis Lazar – Nathan Bastian
Max Willman – Chris Tierny – Alexander Holtz
*Rotation between Simon Nemec, John Marino, Kevin Bahl, Colin Miller, & Cal Foote.
In the Starters Crease
Nico Daws was working this morning’s starters crease, he’s projected to start his third game in a row for the Devils.
“He’s played well,” Ruff said. “He’s gaining confidence, we got him in a few games and hopefully he can keep bringing us the same kind of play.”
Since his recall with the Devils, Daws has begun to separate himself from the pack as the Devils’ starting goaltender. In five games played, Daws has accrued a 3-2-0 record with a 2.63 GAA and .921 SV%. According to MoneyPuck, Daws has registered 2.8 goals saved above expected in that span.
The puck drops tonight between the Devils and Habs at 7 PM.