Devils left wing Patrik Elias and defenseman Niclas Havelid both skated lightly this morning, but head coach Brent Sutter said neither will play against the Toronto Maple Leafs Tuesday night at Prudential Center.
Elias has missed the last three games with leg muscle tightness that is believed to be a groin injury. Havelid sat out Saturday's game in Buffalo with what Sutter called "lower-body soreness."
Sutter said Elias and Havelid are both "day-to-day" and that he will dress the same lineup Tuesday as in Saturday's game.
Sutter said Elias has been improving.
"It's a situation where he needs to continue to take treatment and we need to continue to monitor his progress," he said.
Sutter said he expects that Elias will not be limited physically when he does return to the lineup. He would not speculate, however, on whether Elias would play before the end of the regular season, but said he would prefer it if he were able to get in a game or two before the playoffs.
"We'll see how he is," Sutter said. I'm not going to guess something at this stage. Would it be nice for him to play a game or two before the playoffs started? Yeah, it would, but only if he's where he needs to be."
The Devils said the MRI on Kevin Weekes' injured left knee came back as expected and the prognosis that he will miss two to three weeks remains the same. Weekes was injured in the second period of Friday's 5-4 overtime win over Tamap Bay.
After saying on Saturday that he expected to start Martin Brodeur in all of the team's remaining regular season games, Sutter said today that he doesn't plan to give any of his other players a game off to rest before the start of the playoffs either. Although the Devils have won two in a row after their six-game losing streak, Sutter believes they still have work to do to improve heading into the playoffs and doesn't think resting players wiil help them do that.
"I don't want to talk about it right now, but I don't see that happening just because where we're at," Sutter said. "We had a two week break (without winning). I don't mean that to be disrespectful, but I think we've got to be very careful. A lot depends on health. A lot depends on how guys are., That's going to have a bearing on how we move forward in these three games."
Sutter said he doesn't anticipate resting players just for the sake of rest, though.
"I think we've got to be very careful with that," he said. "I don't that for sure yet...But I'm not a big fan of that becuase I think you lose from edge from that, especially when we're trying to get it back now in our game."