While his players went through an optional skate at the Rock Monday morning, coach Peter DeBoer met with hockey scribes and confirmed that Jacob Josefson will return to action in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final for the first time since breaking his wrist April 3.
To make room for Josefson, veteran Petr Sykora will be scratched for the first time this season.
Josefson said watching to this point has been frustrating. His frustration transferred to Sykora, who clearly was bummed out by the development.
"It's not my decision," he said. "All I can do now is stay in shape . . . Obviously I want to be out there. I feel like I can score some goals. But it’s the way it is."
Did DeBoer give him an explanation? Sykora indicated he had not, and did not owe him one. "No," he said. "It's the way it is."
Why the move?
DeBoer said he told Josefson to "get in, bring us some energy, play like he did the last three, four weeks of the regular season . . . I really felt the last two, three weeks of the season he had re-found his game, his confidence. If we can get a version of that player in the lineup tonight we’ll be a better team."
DeBoer said it was a "tough" decision to bench Sykora and also shake up the first two lines, given that the Devils had the better of the play in Game 3.
But . . . "We didn't score," he said. "That made it easier."
DeBoer also was asked what impact the one-game suspension of the Rangers' Brandon Prust might have on Game 4. "None," he said. "One guy out, one guy in. Nothing changes. I’m sure they’re going to give us a good lineup and be ready to go."
What was Anton Volchenkov's reaction to Prust's suspension, since it was his head whose elbow Prust connected with?
"I don’t talk about suspensions," he said. "It’s a decision for [Brendan] Shanahan and Prust."