Pelley in for Janssen, Hedberg to start vs. Sharks

October, 21, 2011
10/21/11
11:41
AM ET
Rod Pelley is in the Devils' lineup Friday in place of Cam Janssen. The 27-year-old, who played his first game of the season against Los Angeles last Thursday, will center a fourth line with Eric Boulton and Brad Mills.

Coach Pete DeBoer said the decision wasn't based on a lack of effort -- Janssen helped spark the team Saturday in Nashville with an epic battle against fellow heavyweight Brian McGrattan -- and that he'll return soon.

"Obviously, [Janssen] gave us everything he could last game, and he'll be in the lineup sooner than later, but we want that push on a nightly basis for all the spots," DeBoer said.

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One player that has been consistently absent from the Devils' lineup is defenseman Mark Fraser, who will be scratched for the fifth straight game Friday against the Sharks.

DeBoer said he isn't too concerned about keeping the 25-year-old sharp.

"I know the player and the man enough that I don't think that's an issue," he said.

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The Sharks are not off to a dazzling start by any means -- 1-3-0 in their first four games --but will return Marty Havlat to their lineup for the first time since he underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in May.

Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture have combined for only six points through their sluggish start, but DeBoer said they are still a "dangerous" team.

"We talked about coming out strong and not just dipping our toe in the pool to see what the temperature's like," DeBoer said. "I'm not looking for a feeling out 10 minutes."

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With goaltender Martin Brodeur sidelined for 7 to 10 days with a right shoulder injury, backup Johan Hedberg will make his fourth start of the season tonight.

Hedberg has had a phenomenal start to the season, posting a 3-0-0 record with a 1.41 goals against average and a .945 save percentage.

"He's playing like a starter," captain Zach Parise said. "I think we have that luxury of having two starters and I don't think anyone should be surprised the way he's playing."

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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