Devils right wing Ilkka Pikkarainen said after today's morning skate that he will be in the lineup tonight against the Rangers
"I'm a little bit nervous, but in a good way," he said. "I've been waiting for this day."
Pikkarainen, 28, was drafted in the seventh round/218th overall in 2002. He came to North America in 2003 and played three seasons in Albany, but never got to play in an NHL game. He returned to Finland for three years and came back this season for another try.
Now, his first NHL game appears to have arrived.
"The Devils drafted me and since that I've been waiting for this day and now it's here, so I'll be ready," Pikkarainen said.
He said he was told after the optional skate "to be ready."
Pikkarainen said he is completely healthy after having a bout with the stomach flu two weeks ago.
"I'm ready to play," he said.
Pikkarainen knows what he has to do to be successful.
"I know what my role is," he said. "It's go to the net, hit the guys, shoot the puck, do the good things and just try out there,"
It remains unclear, however, if Pikkarainen definitely will play. He still has to come off injured reserve and added to the 23-man roster, which means someone has to be removed from the roster. The Devils has made no roster moves as of 11:45 a.m.
Also, Devils coach Jacques Lemaire said he was considering making one lineup change with his forwards, but had not decided whether to do it, yet. He would not say what fowards he was considering changing.
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Left wing Andrew Peters said he will participate warm-ups tonight, but he's "not sure yet" if he'll play.
"I'll know after warm-ups," he said.
Defenseman Andy Greene and left wing Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond were skating extra after the optional morning skate, so it appears they definitely won't be playing tonight.
Peters said he learned his lesson after getting benched for taking an extra unsportsmanlike conduct penalty Saturday that put the Devils shorthanded for four minutes in the third period. Lemaire talked to Peters about it Sunday.
"Yeah, he talked to me," Peters said. "It was more emotion than anything. I don't think I realized why I got my first penalty, but that's not an excuse. We talked about it yesterday. It's not really like me to do that, but I guess it's the emotions of the game. The refs have a tough enough job as it is. They don't need me yelling at them either. Regardless of whether I agree or disagree, I should just go [to the penalty box]. They're not going to uncall it or whatever you might say. I understand that."
Peters wasn't sure if it was something he said to the officials or his delay in going to the penalty box that earned him the second minor following a roughing penalty on Dan Carcillo.
"It might have been a bit of both, for pushing Carcillo and then maybe not going right to the box," he said. "I don't think I said anything that was way out of line. I just think I argued and that's that. It's over. Just move on."