Struggling during the home stretch of a grueling rookie season, Devils defenseman Adam Larsson will sit out as a healthy scratch for Tuesday's game against the Blackhawks.
The 19-year-old Swede has battled bouts of inconsistency since returning from a back bruise last month -- an injury he admittedly came back from "too soon" -- and knows he needs to improve with the playoffs less than two weeks away.
"I know I haven't played my best game recently. It's tough, but I think it's a smart decision by the coach," Larsson said after the team's optional morning skate. "I don't know how long I'll be out, but hopefully I'll be back soon."
Larsson, a minus-2 in the last four games, missed over three weeks in the beginning of February following a hard hit from Montreal's P.K. Subban. The Devils' fourth overall pick said he's played "too up and down" since coming back and has been told he needs to play more "physical."
"Since he's come back from injury, he's had a few bumps in the road, [he's] been struggling with some consistency -- we've talked to him about that," coach Pete DeBoer said. "We're getting to the point here where we think it could benefit him to sit and watch for a night."
DeBoer said he took the decision well and Larsson said that his confidence will remain unshaken.
"I know how good I am and how good I can play." he said. "[I have to ] just stay positive."
Recently recalled Peter Harrold will play tonight; DeBoer said he hopes the 28-year-old defenseman can add something to the Devils' back end, which is currently without Henrik Tallinder (leg) and Anton Volchenkov (lower body).
"He can skate and move the puck," DeBoer said. "It's nice to have that depth."
Volchenkov, who missed Sunday's game in Pittsburgh, did not skate Tuesday morning. He is still considered "day-today."