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Lemaire expects same game from Bolts

Friday, 01.8.2010 / 12:36 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Lemaire expects same game from Bolts
Andy Greene and the Devils hope to keep Steven Stamkos in check. He has three goals and an assist in three appearances vs. Jersey's Team.
Jacques Lemaire's Devils are 3-0 against the Tampa Bay Lightning this season, though all three wins have been by one goal.

New Jersey took a pair of shootout victories in Tampa – 4-3 on Oct. 8 and 2-1 on Oct. 31 – and followed them up with a 3-2 triumph on Dec. 4, when Jamie Langenbrunner broke a 2-2 tie with 38.1 seconds left in regulation.

The head coach expects more of the same on Friday night, when New Jersey hosts the Bolts to close out the season series.

"Exactly the same type of game – a skating game," he said Friday morning. "A team that will make bad mistakes will pay for it."

Nineteen points separate the Lightning (16-16-10) from the Devils (30-10-1), who lead the Eastern Conference with 61. Despite that gap, Lemaire hasn't looked past his offensively-talented opponent.

They're led by Martin St. Louis' 46 points (10g-36a), and sophomore standout Steven Stamkos' 21 goals. Even in an off-year, the always dangerous Vinny Lecavalier has averaged nearly a point a game (10g-29a in 42 games).

"I feel that they skate as well as we do," Lemaire explained. "They’re getting their chances, we’re getting our chances. It’s a tight game; good intensity. All three games were very similar. I don’t think we had a lot of success, either part, on the power play, except maybe them in the first game. Besides that, it’s been pretty even games."

Friday's contest marks game No. 42 for the Devils, officially opening the back half of the regular season marathon. Lemaire had guided his club to the best first-half start in franchise history, and feels they can continue to improve heading into February's two-week Olympic break.

He admitted that even on those nights when the Devils bring less than their best, they have still managed to come out on top.

"I don’t know if we’ve been playing at our best all the time, but we’re finding a way to win," he said. "Some nights, I know I’m disappointed with the way we play, and we still manage to win. Other nights, we’re just pleased and excited to see them go; how well they’re playing."

Every coach works toward getting consistent performances from his players. The demand to succeed is a constant, but requires the right balance of rest and practice.

"It’s hard because of what we’re demanding from the player," he said. "It’s every practice. Just look at this morning: you want the guys to skate, so they’re skating as hard as they can, and it’s a morning skate. They won’t do it for long, it’s fine. But you’re still demanding. And in practices, you demand the same thing. And in games, you know how many games we’re playing a week. There’s a lot of three in four nights, so as I’m saying, we demand a lot. It’s hard to get the guys to play their best every night."

Travis Zajac broke a 12-game goal drought in Tuesday's win over Dallas, and Lemaire was asked how he can tell when a player has regained his swagger. The coach brought up the recent play of Langenbrunner, who has scored five goals and three assists during his current five-game points streak.

"Look at him," Lemaire said. "It looks like he’s got wings. And he’s not the fastest skater in the League, but it looks like he’s got wings. Why? Because things are going well for him. He’s skating well and he’s just flying. That’s how it goes. When you’re not scoring, then you have a semi to pull every shift you’re on the ice."

The ZZ Pops line of Langenbrunner, Zajac and Zach Parise produced two goals and three assists against the Stars, but Lemaire was noncommittal about permanently keeping them together.

"Travis and Zach, I’ve got about 18 guys that want to play with them; that loves to play with them," he said. "Probably Marty, too. And Scott Stevens." 

NJD NOTES
Lemaire said he will go with the same lineup from the Dallas game, when Ilkka Pikkarainen and Andrew Peters were scratched.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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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