NEWS

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."

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59