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Lemaire gets back to basics

After loss to Vancouver, Devils focus on fundamentals

Thursday, 12.03.2009 / 2:55 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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Lemaire gets back to basics
Lemaire stressed positioning and puck possession at Thursday's practice. 
Jacques Lemaire got what he wanted out of Thursday’s practice at AmeriHealth Pavilion.

His Devils weren’t as sharp as he would’ve liked in their 5-2 loss to Vancouver on Wednesday. The head coach responded by holding an uptempo skate that addressed some of the fundamentals.

“I wish they would’ve played like that last night,” Lemaire said after practice. “If they would’ve played like this last night, we would’ve been fine. It was just a bad game, that’s it. Just a bad game.”

The Canucks took a 3-0 lead midway through the first period before the Devils answered on goals from Niclas Bergfors and Travis Zajac late in the frame. Vancouver struck for two more in the opening 5:18 of the third to snap the Devils’ three-game overall winning streak, and six-game winning streak on home ice.

“Obviously we had some breakdowns,” said captain Jamie Langenbrunner. “We watched a little video then we worked on it a little bit. A staple of our game is being good in our own end. We made some mistakes; it was a refresher course.”

At one point during practice, defending players flipped their sticks over and guarded 5-on-5 without the benefit of stick blades.

“It’s about having the offensive guys make plays and be in the right spot,” Patrik Elias said. “For defensive guys, obviously, because you can’t use the stick, you have to play a lot better positioning and get a lot closer to the guys.”

Elias seemed to prefer the quick pace.

“The better you work in practice, the better you’ll feel in the game,” he said. “Sometimes it might seem a little bit easier.”

The Devils will complete the first of three straight Wednesday-Friday-Saturday stretches this month when they host Tampa Bay on Friday and Detroit on Saturday. Normally, the off-day in a three-in-four would include an easier session to keep players rested.

“It’s a little harder than usual, definitely,” Lemaire said. “We went 45 minutes, we have three games in four nights, usually we won’t go 45 minutes. They had a lot of skating for the three games in four nights.”

But there were no punitive line sprints or laps for Wednesday's loss.

“I don’t believe in that,” said Lemaire. “Stops and starts is good for guys that are not in shape. Even if you do stops and starts for the mental, I don’t know what it’s going to do, if it’s going to get the mental better. Might get it numb.”

Any coach will see his club produce some lackluster performances over the course of an 82-game schedule. Part of the job is knowing when it’s time to get back to basics.

“This one, to me, was easy,” Lemaire said. “It was easy because we had everyone, even our good players, not thinking about position. Even our best players. They were mostly all involved with not being in position. The little stuff that you do when your mind is not sharp, you don’t have good legs and you want to cheat a bit offensively, so you cut corners short and all of a sudden the puck is in the net.”

After observing Thursday’s skate, Lemaire reported the Devils are on track again.

“They were back to normal,” he said. “For now. I don’t know tomorrow – they might have a surprise for me. But it’s good, because if Tampa scouted (last night) they’ll be really screwed up.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51

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