NEWS

Zharkov could play Saturday

Thursday, 03.25.2010 / 2:45 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Zharkov could play Saturday
Zharkov expected to be back in the lineup vs. Montreal.
With 10 games left in the regular season, one of the things Jacques Lemaire hopes to do is find room in the lineup for speedy winger Vladimir Zharkov.

Zharkov has eight assists in 36 appearances this season, but has been scratched from the last eight games. Lemaire said the Russian rookie could be back in the lineup when the Devils visit Montreal on Saturday.

“I do have confidence in him,” Lemaire said. "The only thing is, I don’t have room to play him regularly. I would love to give him another shot, see where he’s at, play a few games. You never know. A kid sometimes, he gets in, starts to play with confidence, get a point and he keeps going.

Lemaire tried Zharkov on a line with Brian Rolston and Dainius Zubrus at practice on Wednesday and said he just has a feeling about Zharkov’s potential to contribute down the stretch, and possibly, in the playoffs.

“I love his energy,” said the head coach. “He’s a kid that came out of the lineup because he wasn’t getting points, but I’m very pleased with the way he played defensively and the energy he brings. I’d love to give him another try. You never know in the playoffs. You get an injury, you’ll need a player. Every playoffs, there’s always someone that comes out that you don’t expect that will play really well and get points and hopefully it will be him. He’s a kid that works every day and tries to be better, so he would deserve it.”

Zharkov is focused on developing into a Devils regular.

“Hard work, keep shooting, keep skating – that’s it,” Zharkov said.

The 22-year-old is still looking for his first NHL goal. He had 11 goals, 23 assists in 69 contests with Lowell (AHL) last season. He was selected by New Jersey in the third round of the 2006 Entry Draft.

Lemaire believes Zharkov's shot selection could be the problem.

“Sometimes he misses the net, sometimes it’s too high, sometimes it’s (stopped by) the defense,” the coach said. “He doesn’t seem to hit the corner or the right spot. He doesn’t put it at the right place.”

With Zharkov's one assist in his last 20 appearances, Lemaire is rooting for him to crack the scoresheet again soon.

“He’s skating well, he’s checking well. It’s only the offense,” Lemaire explaied. “He came out of the lineup because of the offense – he didn’t get a lot offensively. And then he gets in a competition with all the other guys. He’s not overly aggressive, but he can play in any type of game. He doesn’t stop.”

Ilya Kovalchuk’s presence has benefitted the youngster. Zharkov has worked hard at improving his English, but having a fellow countryman on the team has helped Zharkov adjust to life in the NHL.

“I could see it when he played a little bit when he was there at the start,” Lemaire said. “I could see that they talked to each other and all of that. He gets excited when he’s with Kovy.”

“I like having him on the Devils,” Zharkov said. “We stick together, go to dinner. It’s nice.”

Defenseman Mark Fraser was Zharkov’s teammate in Lowell, and has also helped him learn words and phrases useful in the locker room like “carpet,” “light switch,” “skate guard.”

“His English is coming along a lot,” Fraser said. “Before, it was a lot of hand signals. But with the names of things, he still isn’t sure about everything.

Zharkov said Fraser has only taught him “good” words, because there were others that he already knew.

“The bad words, they float around here quite a bit,” Fraser joked.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59