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Martin to be gametime decision vs. Caps

Leach returns to Lowell (AHL)

Thursday, 11.13.2008 / 3:00 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Martin to be gametime decision vs. Caps
Paul Martin
newjerseydevils.com – Head coach Brent Sutter believes his team has done some good things lately that unfortuantely haven't impacted the wins column.

Hampered by injuries, including Martin Brodeur's torn bicep, the Devils suffered a pair of narrow defeats, losing 3-1 Saturday to Detroit and 2-1 Sunday versus Edmonton. Looking for its second win in 10 tries against the Rangers Wednesday, New Jersey outshot New York 13-5 in the opening frame and took a 1-0 advantage on Travis Zajac's second of the season.

But that first-period lead evaporated when the Devils surrendered a season-high four goals in the second period en route to a 5-2 loss at Prudential Center.

"We had seven pretty good periods of hockey up until that point," Sutter said after Thursday's practice at AmeriHealth Pavilion. "We didn't get rewarded for it in two games against Detroit and Edmonton. Then last night in the first period we played well and just seemed to get unravelled and take penalties. Things got out of hand."

The Devils (7-6-2) could get a boost Friday from the return of defenseman Paul Martin, who skated with the team in Thursday's practice and will be a gametime decision for a meeting with the Capitals in Washington.

New Jersey's leading scorer among defensemen with 32 points in 2007-08, Martin has missed five games with upper body soreness. His offensive abilities would be a shot in the arm for a power play that is scoreless in three games and has converted once in its last 18 chances.

The Devils dressed seven defensemen against the Rangers, scratching right wing Nicklas Bergfors. Sutter plans to go with six blueliners for Friday. Jay Leach, who was called up on Nov. 9, has returned to Lowell (AHL).

Sutter said he has yet to make a decision on whether it will be Kevin Weekes or Scott Clemmensen in net Friday night. Weekes registered 21 saves in his fourth start of the season, but was relieved by Clemmensen, who started the third and recorded 16 stops. The Devils have dropped four of five without Brodeur in the lineup.

"We have two guys here that are capable of doing the job," Sutter said. "Coaches have to make decisions. Coaches make decisions, coaches get questioned. It's just the way it is, and yet that's just the nature of the beast when you're the coach. Whatever goaltender we go with tomorrow, someone will say, 'Why'd you go with him?' It's just the way it is, and I accept that."

The task for the Devils this weekend will be to contain the two Alexanders – Ovechkin and Semin – in their home-and-home set with the Caps that concludes Saturday in Newark.

Ovechkin is the NHL's reigning MVP, while Semin boasts a league-best 13 goals and 27 points in 15 games. Washington has won four straight and leads the Southeast Division by two points over Carolina.

"They're both pretty good," Sutter deadpanned. "Semin's definitely a very good player, and we all know about Ovechkin already... There's some pretty elite forwards at that level with the Ovechkins, the [Sidney] Crosbys, the Semins, the [Evgeni] Malkins, the Parises, the [Ryan] Getzlafs. You can go on and on and on. There are some pretty elite players in that age group.

"You look at all the young players in the game today and how good they are, how smart they are and how they play the game at a high skill level... that says volumes about where the game is."

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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