New Jersey’s problems at center of late get some relief today.
Rookie Adam Henrique returns to the Devils lineup after missing five of their last eight games with a groin injury. With Henrique and Travis Zajac out of the lineup, the Devils have run with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus at center. New Jersey hasn’t missed a beat though as they’ve climbed up the Eastern Conference standings into sixth place.
Coach Peter DeBoer tells Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice that he’s unsure whether Henrique will start on a line with Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk and he’ll wait for warmups to finish up before deciding. That trio has been solid this season and has helped Henrique’s shot at the Calder Trophy.
Henrique has 13 goals and 21 assists this season he’s second amongst all rookies in scoring and just one point behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. With Nugent-Hopkins just getting back from an injury himself, the rookie scoring race is on in full with Matt Read, Craig Smith, and Cody Hodgson all in the mix as well.
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It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.