The New Jersey Devils will get a much-needed offensive injection tonight, as Mike Cammalleri will suit up for the first time in six games to take on the Bruins at TD Garden.
Cammalleri, who’s been out since Oct. 25 with an upper-body injury (rumored to be a concussion), was off to a good start before getting hurt, putting up a team-high five goals and seven points in his first eight games as a Devil. The 32-year-old joined New Jersey this summer on a five-year, $25 million deal and has been one of the better free-agent signings in the early part of the year.
New Jersey has clearly missed his offense as of late.
The Devils are mired in a three-game losing streak, scoring just nine goals over their last five games while going zero for their last nine on the power play. Cammalleri, a two-time 30-goal scorer, has always been an effective sniper with the man advantage and netted a career-high 19 PPG with Calgary during the 2008-09 campaign, so he’ll be a welcome return this evening.
The New Jersey Devils have lost three straight games and while injuries have taken their toll, that’s not something they can afford to hide behind if they want to avoid digging a hole for themselves early.
“We have to stop the bleeding here,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said, per the Star-Ledger. “Whoever is dressed (tonight), whether we have all five of those (injured) guys who are out or whether one or two of them come back, we’ve got to stop the bleeding.”
DeBoer feels the team needs to play at a minimum of .500 while they work through their current batch of significant injuries. More than anything, they want to avoid following in Columbus’ footsteps, which has collapsed with eight straight losses as key players are forced to watch from the sidelines.
Jon Merrill, Adam Henrique and Ryane Clowe didn’t travel with the Devils to Boston for Monday’s game, so obviously none of them will play. Mike Cammalleri (upper body) and Martin Havlat (lower body) might be available though.
The Bruins are also dealing with more than their fair share of injuries, but they have still managed to win their last four games.
New Jersey Devils forwards Martin Havlat and Mike Cammalleri were participants in practice on Sunday and could be options for coach Pete DeBoer as the team travels to play the Boston Bruins Monday.
Havlat, who has a goal and three assists in five games this season, has missed eight games with a lower body injury. He also missed a game after suffering facial cuts during a game Oct. 16.
Cammalleri has missed six games after receiving an elbow to the jaw on Oct. 24. He told Tom Gulitti on Sunday that he wasn’t allowed to say whether he suffered a concussion.
Cory Schneider is expected to make his 15th consecutive start in Boston – he hails from nearby Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Ryane Clowe (head) and John Merrill (arm) did not participate in practice on Sunday.
After admitting following Thursday night’s win over the Edmonton Oilers that he was playing hurt, David Krejci missed Bruins practice on Sunday.
Krejci has missed five of Boston’s first 15 games due to the injury, which is believed to be a lower body. He initially suffered the injury during the preseason.
On Sunday, during the team’s line rushes, Krejci was replaced by Chris Kelly at center between Milan Lucic and Seth Griffith.
In 10 games this season, the 28-year-old has three goals and 10 points.
The Bruins return to action Monday when they play host to the New Jersey Devils.
Veteran center Scott Gomez continues to wait for a contract from the New Jersey Devils 14 games into the season.
Gomez, 34, was invited to the team’s camp on a professional tryout, but not signed to a contract once the season began. He was asked to hang around New Jersey, practice and wait for an opportunity to arise.
“I think it would be difficult if I was younger. I knew what the deal was,” Gomez told The Star-Ledger. “It seems like it’s been a lifetime, but it’s only been (14) games.
“I’ve never been in this situation, but I’ve talked to other guys who have been in this situation, like (Jay Pandolfo), and the main thing is that you feel part of it. I don’t feel I’m in the way. I knew coming into it I had to have patience. Being around the guys has always been the most fun part. The coaches and everybody have made me feel part of it.”
Despite injuries and a three-game losing skid, Gomez has yet to be called upon by GM Lou Lamoriello. The former Devils first-rounder isn’t putting a time frame on how long he’s willing to wait around.
“When you start thinking that way, that’s when negative stuff comes into your mind,” Gomez said. “I’m not setting a deadline because of the respect I have for the organization and Lou. It’s more coming day to day and getting my work in to be ready.
“I’ve been around the league long enough. Crazy things can happen. We all know what can happen. The most important thing is staying in shape. You can’t let other things get in your head.”
Gomez remains hopeful and has not begun thinking about life after hockey.
“I’ll cross that bridge when it comes,” he said. “It’s been one day at a time. Get my work in, stay fresh, stay hungry.”