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Lemaire hopes for quick clinch

Thursday, 03.25.2010 / 3:41 PM / 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

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51