The center had missed the last five games with what the Devils called an upper-body injury, saying he was “week to week.” New Jersey went 2-3-0 in his absence.
Hughes was injured on a crash into the boards against the St. Louis Blues on Nov. 3, on his fifth shift of the game. He left the team’s road trip for care back in New Jersey. Coach Lindy Ruff said at the time that the team was “fortunate” that Hughes wasn’t injured worse in the collision.
Despite missing time, Hughes is still the second highest scorer on the Devils with 20 points in 10 games, with 5 goals and 15 assists.
New Jersey entered their game against the Rangers with an 8-6-1 record (17 points), trailing their rivals by six points in the Metro Division standings. It was their first meeting since the Devils’ seven-game victory in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.