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Rolston gets look on line with Kovy, Zajac

Tuesday, 03.23.2010 / 2:40 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Rolston gets look on line with Kovy, Zajac
Rolston looking to come through on offense for Devils.
The Devils have scored once in their last two games, and have gone six outings without connecting on the power play. Jacques Lemaire is hoping to change his team’s fortunes on offense, and was set to try Brian Rolston on the right side of Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac against Columbus on Tuesday.

Lemaire coached Rolston in Minnesota, where he posted three straight seasons with 30-or-more goals. Besides getting the team’s offense flowing once again, Lemaire would also like to get Rolston reignited over the final 11 games of the regular season.

“There’s all kinds of messages in that move,” Lemaire said. “That’s where he should play, so we give him a chance to play there and then we’ll see. It’s up to him to take advantage of it and do the best he can.”

Rolston has 18 goals and 14 assists this season, but has been held off the scoresheet in his last five appearances.

“I don’t really have a ton of say about it,” Rolston said about the move. “I thought our line was playing well together, and I think (Lemaire's) just trying to find ways of getting some offense. We haven’t been scoring much lately, maybe he’s just switching things around a little bit. Maybe that’ll make that other line click, and maybe this line will click as well. I think that’s what’s important.”

Rolston skated the right side with Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias at center in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to St. Louis. He recorded four shots in the game and didn't feel the change was about helping his confidence. He had previously been on a trio with Rob Niedermayer and David Clarkson.

“I felt our line was playing well with Nieder and Clarky, so it’s not a matter of getting a confidence boost from that,” he said. “I just want to play consistent and start producing a little more.”

Rolston is second to Zach Parise (301) with 210 shots on the season. His big slapshot combined with Kovalchuk’s playmaking could prove to be a lethal combo. Kovalchuk has 248 shots this season, including 69 in 16 games with New Jersey.

“Kovy sees everybody on the ice,” said Lemaire. “When you don’t expect the puck, he’s going to send it to you because you’re open. You could be close, you could be far, but he sees you.”

Zajac agreed.

“He’s a great passer,” Zajac said. “I didn’t know that until he came here, actually. Just watching him in practice, watching him in games, he can find seams through guys' sticks and skates. He makes plays that I wouldn’t, and you have to expect the puck from him because sometimes it’s a tough pass, but he somehow finds ways to make it.”

Zajac’s role at center will be setting up two of the most feared shooters in the Devils’ lineup.

“They’re both players that are good with the puck, have great vision,” he said. “I think it’s my job on the line to try and get them the puck and make sure they get some quality opportunities.”

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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
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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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