At a glance: The Devils have dropped four of their last five games and suddenly the gap both above and below them (6th place) in the Eastern Conference standings is not so large. New Jersey faces a fellow 6-seed in Chicago Tuesday, with the Blackhawks aiming for a bounce-back game of their own. Without captain Jonathan Toews and top defenseman Duncan Keith, the Blackhawks were man-handled 6-1 by the Predators Sunday.
Larsson sits: Rookie defenseman Adam Larsson will miss Tuesday’s game as a healthy scratch. The 19-year-old has struggled of late – he is a minus-two in his last four games – and played inconsistently since returning from a lower back bruise suffered last month. Larsson said he wasn’t sure if this will be a one-game trip to the press box, but coach Pete DeBoer expects the young Swede to respond well: “He’s a confident kid…I know he’ll bounce back.”
Missing parts: Out with a concussion, Toews will miss his 17th straight game. And if that wasn’t enough, the Blackhawks will also be missing Keith from their back-end as he serves the second of a five-game ban for his concussion-causing hit on Daniel Sedin.
Volchenkov out: The Devils will be without defenseman Anton Volchenkov, who is out for the second straight game with a lower-body injury. The hard-hitting 30-year-old did not skate Tuesday, but is still considered “day-to-day.”
Brodeur vs. Crawford: Winless in his last four starts, 39-year-old Martin Brodeur will square off against Chicago’s Corey Crawford in goal. Brodeur has surrendered three or more goals during that span and a total of 16 combined, while Crawford has recorded wins in five of his last six games.
Harrold recalled: With Larsson scratched and Volchenkov out, the Devils summoned 28-year-old defenseman Peter Harrold from Albany of the American Hockey League. Harrold has five goals and 21 assists in 61 games for Albany, and despite the minor-league teams’ recent struggles, still has a plus-two rating. Said DeBoer: “He can skate and move to the puck…It’s nice to have that depth.”