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Devils look to light lamp vs. Leafs

Friday, 01.29.2010 / 2:39 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils look to light lamp vs. Leafs
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With the Devils hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs Friday for their first meeting of the season, head coach Jacques Lemaire is trying to get his squad scoring again.

“Definitely right now, our offense is not where it should be,” Lemaire said after Friday's morning skate. “We’re practicing certain drills that’s going to give us some offense in the near future.”

That included some extra work on the odd-man rush at Thursday’s practice. Lemaire felt it could help his players find defensive openings near the net.

The Devils (34-16-2) have dropped two in a row and six of their last eight. They've been held to a goal or less six times in their last nine outings, including three shutouts.

“We’re no different than other teams,” said the coach. “There’s always a time in the season that a team will struggle and won’t get the offense that’s expected. We’re at that time right now, and we’ve got to get out of it.”

Fortunately, team defense hasn't been a problem. New Jersey's 2.17 goals allowed per game is tops in the League.

“We’re lucky to play well defensively, or else we would really be in trouble,” Lemaire said. “I think it’s every individual that has to think at a certain moment when he has the puck what he’s going to do with the puck; what is the best possible play he can make.”

Martin Brodeur skipped Friday’s skate, but has certainly earned the rest. The Devils' netminder has started 31 in a row and appeared in 38 straight overall. He leads the NHL in wins (31) and shutouts (7), and ranks fourth in goals-against average (2.17).

“Martin has been good for us – really good, as a matter of fact,” Lemaire said. “He gives us a chance every night.”

Toronto (17-27-10) enters the contest having allowed a League-worst 3.43 goals per game. Still, the Devils, who also face the Leafs twice next week, aren’t looking past the 14th seed.

“We haven’t been winning a whole lot lately,” Travis Zajac said. “We can’t take anyone for granted. We just have to go out there and make it hard for them.”

Lemaire is counting on his group to outwork the visitors.

“They’ve proved that every game, they work hard,” he said of the Leafs. “Teams that don’t work as they do don’t beat them. The odd night they will because they get some breaks. But they battle and they battle for 60 minutes, and that’s what we want to do tonight.”

New Jersey entertains the Kings on Sunday, then visits Toronto on Tuesday. They return to host Toronto again next Friday. The series finale is March 18 at the Air Canada Centre.

“It’s weird playing them three out of four,” Zajac said. “It’s almost like a playoff series. I’m sure by the end of the last game it’s going to feel like that because we’re going to know each other pretty well.”

Zajac and the Devils hope to build on the positives from Wednesday’s 2-1 shootout loss at Buffalo. They fired 40 shots on Ryan Miller, including five in overtime.

“It’s easy to look at the negatives and everything we’re doing wrong, but we’re a team that knows we’re going to get through this," said Zajac. "We know we played good hockey last game, so we just have to stay positive and get some confidence back.”

NJD NOTES
Rod Pelley has been activated from injured reserve and is day to day. He has missed the last five games with a lower body injury.

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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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