New Jersey Devils F Timo Meier is being considered a game-time decision for Game 1 of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs vs. the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night. The Devils and Hurricanes open their series at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. at 7 p.m. ET. Meier was hit in the head by New York Rangers D Jacob Trouba in Game 7 of their first-round series on Monday night. Meier was unable to return but did make it back to the bench. Here we’ll update on his status for Game 1.
Timo Meier injury updates
Update — Meier is expected to play in Game 2 against the Hurricanes.
Update, Game 2 — Meier is a game-time decision again for Game 2 vs. the Hurricanes on Friday night. The Devils dropped Game 1 of the series 5-1 on Wednesday night. Meier was replaced in the lineup with Jesper Boqvist, who skated on the third line. If Meier is able to play, we should expect him to take that spot on the third line with Dawson Mercer and Yegor Sharangovich, though we didn’t get lines at morning skate, so that could change.
The Devils could use Meier’s physical play in Game 2. Carolina came out and dominated the first period, which was the difference in the game really. He hasn’t been productive this postseason but was able to generate scoring chances in the first round. The Devils only had one shot on goal in the first period in Game 1. Getting Meier back would help in that department.
Update — Meier will not play in Game 1 vs. the Hurricanes on Wednesday night. Jesper Boqvist is back in the lineup. Here’s what New Jersey’s lines look like for the game:
The hit was pretty vicious though Meier was able to skate Wednesday morning at practice on the third line with Dawson Mercer and Yegor Sharangovich. That’s encouraging enough but we won’t know for sure if Meier will play until pregame warmups around 6:30 p.m. ET.
If Meier is unable to go, head coach Lindy Ruff can go in a few directions. Skating seven defensemen may not be a bad idea. We could see rookie D Luke Hughes make his NHL playoff debut if that’s the case. Or veteran Brendan Smith will draw in. Smith did skate in some capacity as a forward this season and in his career. He could provide some toughness as well.
The most logical move would be F Jesper Boqvist or F Curtis Lazar draw in. Michael McLeod has been skating up and double shifting with the top-9 forward group this postseason. Lazar could draw in but play limited minutes, mostly on the penalty kill. One of Jesper Bratt, Tomas Tatar or Ondrej Palat would move up to the first power-play unit as well. Palat has been seen on that first unit these playoffs, so that should be the route Ruff goes.
Meier was acquired from the San Jose Sharks before the NHL Trade Deadline this season. He had 14 points in 21 games for the Devils during the regular season after the trade. Meier has no points in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games so far in 2023.