Adam Larsson suffers bruised back

NEWARK, N.J. -- An already-decimated New Jersey Devils' blue line got a little bit thinner Thursday night.

Rookie defenseman Adam Larsson left the Devils' 5-3 win with a bruised lower back after a devastating hit from Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban during the third period.

Larsson, who was down on the ice for several minutes while being tended to by the team trainer, had to be helped off toward the training room by two teammates.

The Devils are already without defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who is on injured reserve with acute thrombophlebitis. The team also dressed seven defensemen for their match against Montreal with veteran defenseman Bryce Salvador battling through an ankle injury suffered Tuesday in the team's 4-3 shootout win over the Rangers.

Devils coach Pete DeBoer sounded relieved the injury to Larsson did not appear serious immediately after the game.

"From what I understand, it looks like a bruise," DeBoer said.

He had no problem with the hit Larsson took from Subban, saying he "thought it was a clean hit."

DeBoer said it was too early to tell whether the rookie defenseman will be available for this weekend's back-to-back set. Larsson was not made available to the media following the game.

Larsson also got up gingerly earlier in the game after a hit from Mathieu Darche left a cut on his right cheekbone.

"He's trying to make a difference in the game. That's his mentality.
He's that type of player. He's grabbing the puck and going with it in the tough areas and he took some tough hits doing it. I give him full marks," DeBoer said. "He's a tough kid that's trying to make a difference in an important game."

Veteran defenseman Kurtis Foster left the ice before the end of the first after a hit by Darche into the boards but returned to start the second period. After committing a turnover that led to Montreal's short-handed goal in the second, Foster played only one more 16-second shift the entire game.

Foster said it had nothing to do with his health.

"I was just benched," he said.

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPNNewYork.com.