By Steve Keating
NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBeor said defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who has been sidelined since mid-January with a blood clot in his left leg, could make a surprise return for the Stanley Cup finals.
DeBoer said Tallinder would not be available for Saturday's Game Two against Los Angeles in Newark but would join his team mates on the flight to California for Games Three and Four.
"...Tallinder is available. You might see him as the series goes forward here," DeBoer told reporters before Saturday's game.
"Every time we play, the next day we discuss our lineup for the next night. Those guys' names are always discussed."
DeBoer rated Tallinder, who had six points and zero goals in 39 games this season, as one of his team's top two blueliners before he was sidelined for 55 games.
With long flights a dangerous contributor to blood clots, the New Jersey coach admitted to some concern about Tallinder making the cross-country journey but the 33-year-old Swede had been given the all-clear by team doctors.
"Sure, you worry about it," admitted DeBoer. "Our doctors, trainers and him have a comfort level or he wouldn't be traveling with us. It's definitely an issue.
"I think a lot of people point to airplane flight as the cause for that.
"I know he's kept himself in great shape. He looks good in practice."
Wednesday's opening game, won by the Kings in overtime, lacked a nasty edge but DeBoer warned said the absence of fighting and penalties was not a lack of intensity.
"You're playing for the Stanley Cup," said DeBoer. "If the compete level isn't at the highest point it's ever been during your career or during the season, then there's a problem.
"I would doubt you're going to see any fighting. I think both teams' discipline is at a premium.
"I don't think either of us wants to get into a specialty team game...but that doesn't mean that it's not a war at ice level for ice and puck battles and space."
(Editing by Julian Linden)