Henrik Tallinder could return to Devils lineup during Stanley Cup Final

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer
DevilsNEWARK, N.J. -- Defenseman Henrik Tallinder hasn't appeared in a game for the New Jersey Devils since the middle of January due to a blood clot in his leg. Despite that lengthy absence he's been involved in practice with the team and could be an option at some point for the Devils during the Stanley Cup Final.

He won't be in the lineup on Saturday for Game 2 (the Devils are sticking with the same lineup they used on Wednesday) but he is expected to travel with the team to Los Angeles. It also sounds like coach Pete DoBoer wouldn't hesitate to put him in the lineup if and when he's ready to go. Even after he went a few months without playing games.

"I do know this," said DeBoer on Saturday. "I know he's kept himself in great shape. He looks good in practice. Before he went out he was a top-two defenseman for us. It didn't hurt [Travis] Zajac coming back in. I know you're jumping into the Stanley Cup Final, not into the last week of the regular season. But [Jacob] Josefson jumped in last round against the Rangers coming off six weeks out with a broken wrist, and it didn't hurt him. You know, you hope you get the desired result, but you never know."

In 39 games this season Tallinder didn't score a single goal for the Devils and recorded six assists while playing over 21 minutes per night. And they were pretty big minutes. Before he was sidelined he was consistently being given some of the toughest matchups of any blue-liner on the team, playing against the second toughest competition on the team among defensemen He also started the majority of his shifts in the defensive zone and still managed to help push the play in the right direction.

If he's ready to go at some point and is able to contribute, it would be a very nice addition to the Devils blue line.

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