The A-Train is finally back in the station. Anton Volchenkov, out since October 9 with various injuries, will return to the Devils lineup for tonight’s game against the New York Rangers.
Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello believes Volchenkov’s return will help ease the pressure off the other defensemen.
“Whenever you get a veteran back whose size and strength is one of the reasons we acquired him, it certainly helps take the pressure off the other veteran players who are playing with young players and perhaps trying to do too much,” Lamoriello said to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record.
Volchenkov suffered a broken nose after being hit with a shot in a 7-2 loss to the Washington Capitals. During his recovery, the defensemen dealt with a stiff neck, which kept him off the ice.
The return of “A-Train” should help a beleaguered Devils defense. New Jersey has played three rookies on the blue line, and the team has allowed 45 goals, among the worst in the league. Volchenkov, who usually sits near the top of the league in blocked shots, should help to limit the amount of chances for the opponents.
Volchenkov couldn’t return soon enough, as the Devils get set to face their rivals, the New York Rangers. The Blueshirts already won the first meeting of the season, defeating New Jersey, 3-1, at MSG on October 24. Michael Roszival broke a scoreless tie in the second, putting the Rangers ahead, 1-0, at 1:26 of the period. Ryan Callahan extended the lead to 2-0 with a power play tally at 12:22 of the period. Ilya Kovalchuk cut the deficit in half, putting the Devils on the board at 14:08 of the third period. Brandon Dubinsky put home an empty-netter at 19:59 to clinch the victory.
The Devils, fresh off a 5-3 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, will look to win two in a row for the first time this season. They’ll have to win without Martin Brodeur (elbow) and Colin White (flu), who will both miss tonight’s game.