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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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AWAY
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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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