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Lemaire hopes for quick clinch

Thursday, 03.25.2010 / 3:41 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Lemaire hopes for quick clinch
A Devils win against the Rangers on Thursday coupled with an Atlanta loss of any kind to Toronto would clinch New Jersey’s 13th straight appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Jacques Lemaire says the sooner, the better.

“It’s always better because every team that clinches a playoff spot, they get a weight off their back,” said the head coach. “Then they can start to focus on getting ready for the playoffs. It’s always a weight that you carry when you’re in the race.”

When asked about the obstacles the Devils have overcome this season, Lemaire downplayed the impact of injuries. Patrik Elias, David Clarkson, Paul Martin and Dainius Zubrus each missed significant time this year, and the Devils didn’t have a fully healthy lineup until Martin’s return on March 17.

To Lemaire, though, the Devils haven’t faced any more adversity than anyone else.

“Maybe at the start of the season we got some breaks because we were working hard. That got us points,” he said. “The rest, every team gets it. They get a bad period, it’s the first period, it’s the second period. The power play’s not going, the power play is going. The penalty kill’s not good at a certain time; good after that. It’s every team.”

For now, Lemaire plans to see what develops from his lines with Elias between Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner, and Travis Zajac centering Ilya Kovalchuk and Brian Rolston.

“Travis is the guy, he’s going to help a lot to make plays for his wingers,” he said. “He’s going to help a lot to hold on to the puck to make plays for his winger. He’s going to help a lot defensively, he’s going to help a lot offensively. He’s a complete player.”

The Devils have so much talent in their top six forwards that the distinction between the first and second lines has become blurred.

“I think the two lines are good,” Lemaire said. “Our two top lines are good, and (either) could be the top line depending on the night.”

• Jay Pandolfo will be back in the lineup against the Rangers. 

• The Devils had nine skaters and goaltender Yann Danis on the ice for Thursday’s optional morning skate: David Clarkson, Rod Pelley, Vladimir Zharkov, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, Andrew Peters, and defensemen Andy Greene, Mark Fraser, Anssi Salmela and Martin Skoula. 

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
4 TBL 50 28 18 4 131 115 60
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 49 25 17 7 126 122 57
10 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
11 CAR 52 23 21 8 124 138 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 53 20 28 5 133 167 45

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 52 15 23 7 38
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
K. Palmieri 52 20 15 3 35
A. Henrique 50 16 16 14 32
T. Zajac 44 7 17 6 24
D. Schlemko 44 6 9 -8 15
A. Larsson 52 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 50 1 12 0 13
A. Greene 52 4 6 2 10
J. Moore 44 3 7 -1 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 23 15 5 .929 2.03
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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