NEWS

Devils practice getting in line

Monday, 10.19.2009 / 8:06 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils practice getting in line
Mike Mottau says players must be more alert at the bench.
With four bench minors for too many men on the ice in their first seven games, Jacques Lemaire and the Devils spent part of Monday's practice working on line changes.

Lemaire hopes it pays quick dividends, as his club has already been burned twice: at Tampa Bay on Oct. 8, and Friday versus Atlanta. The Devils face the Rangers at MSG on Thursday, then travel to Pittsburgh for Saturday's matchup with the Penguins.

"It’s guys coming to the bench," Lemaire said. "Our mind is somewhere else for a second and then we feel our guy’s not there, there’s a guy missing, he jumps (over the boards). He doesn’t know why he jumps, but he jumps."

Lemaire said every team tries to gain an edge. Players hop over the boards early to get a headstart on the man they're taking off the ice. But it becomes a penalty when the puck winds up caught in the middle.

"It’s a fine line when to jump on and when the guy comes in," Lemaire said. "If the puck’s not there, with the usual change, you never have a problem. Both sides. (But) you cannot get in the play. There’s a rush and your man is changing, you cannot jump and stop the other guy or get in his way or things like that. That is too many men on the ice. You’re playing and the other guy is still on."

Defenseman Mike Mottau said the number of too many men penalties has been disappointing, but can be remedied.

"It’s definitely something that can be easily fixed," Mottau said. "Guys can be more alert on the bench, and the guy that’s changing can be more alert as to what’s going on. It’s really a mental letdown and it’s unacceptable, actually, to have this many too many men so early in the season."

Monday's practice reviewed when skaters can look for a line change.

"It gives you an idea that the far forward has to stay, or even the far defenseman, depending on where the opposing forwards are," Mottau said. "It’s definitely a thing that you can overthink, as well. You don’t want to put the guy coming on the ice in a bad situation and vice versa. Guys are cheating to get on the ice, and guys are staying too long sometimes. It’s something that has to be tightened up because it’s come back to bite us in a few games here."

• Swedish rookie Niclas Bergfors registered a game-high eight shots in Saturday's 2-0 win over Carolina, but has yet to score a goal this season. As long as he continues to get scoring chances, said Lemaire, the goals will follow.

"You start to score, you get a lucky goal here and you build up more confidence and you’re going to shoot the puck," said Lemaire, adding that the coaching staff will be working with Bergfors to improve his shot. "You’ll get another one and it just snowballs. But he’s got to start somewhere. I know he doesn’t have a big shot right now, which makes it a little more difficult, but it’s going to come.

"When a player gets chances, that’s all that I want. I know the goals will come. The problem is if you don’t get chances. How can you score?"

• Matt Halischuk was scheduled to visit a dentist today after taking a high-stick in the face from Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour on Saturday.

"My lip's a little better today, but I'm going in to check my teeth out and get a few x-rays of my teeth," he said.

• Defenseman Cory Murphy was placed on waivers.

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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