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NEWS

Martin to be gametime decision vs. Caps

Leach returns to Lowell (AHL)

Thursday, 11.13.2008 / 3:00 PM / 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 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 40 10 16 -1 26
J. Jagr 43 9 16 -10 25
M. Cammalleri 35 15 6 -3 21
P. Elias 37 6 14 -14 20
M. Zidlicky 47 4 16 -7 20
M. Ryder 42 6 12 -2 18
T. Zajac 39 8 8 -7 16
S. Gomez 23 4 12 -5 16
S. Bernier 32 6 7 1 13
M. Havlat 29 5 7 -10 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 19 4 .920 2.41
K. Kinkaid 1 3 3 .913 2.54