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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 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 53 15 24 7 39
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
K. Palmieri 53 20 15 3 35
A. Henrique 51 17 16 14 33
T. Zajac 45 7 18 6 25
D. Schlemko 45 6 9 -9 15
A. Larsson 53 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 50 1 12 0 13
A. Greene 53 4 6 2 10
J. Josefson 42 3 7 -13 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 23 15 6 .929 2.03
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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