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NEWS

Lemaire, Devils prepared for postseason

Wednesday, 04.14.2010 / 4:04 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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Lemaire, Devils prepared for postseason
Lemaire and Devils are ready to roll.
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Jacques Lemaire doesn’t need the first round to start to know what kind of team he’s taking into the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Devils edged the Penguins for their fourth Atlantic Division title in five years, and finished the regular season with four wins in their final five games. They captured the William Jennings Trophy for fewest team goals allowed (191), and with the addition of Ilya Kovalchuk, appear primed for a strong postseason run.

Their Cup quest begins Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., when they host the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

“We’re a team that got better as the year went on because of all the injuries that we had,” Lemaire said Wednesday. “The acquisition, too, of Kovalchuk brought this team, to me, to another level. It gave us two really good lines to score, which most other teams have so we can compete with the other teams more than we could before.”

Martin Brodeur gives the Devils tremendous strength in net. He posted League highs with 45 wins and nine shutouts, and set new NHL marks for shutouts (104) and games played by a goaltender (1,030).

The first goaltender to reach 600 wins, Brodeur hasn’t changed much from what Lemaire remembered from his first stint in New Jersey.

“He’s the same person that loves the challenge; loves to be in big games; handles pressure well,” said Lemaire, who coached the Devils to their first title in 1995. “He’s got a good mind for the game. The only thing he’s got [different] is the age. The rest is pretty much the same.”

At first glance, the Devils’ first-round draw seems to favor the opponents. The Flyers took five of six meetings with the New Jersey this season, most recently a 5-1 win on March 28. But Lemaire feels victory will come with the right game plan.

“Any team that you hit in the playoffs, there’s always concern because you know it’s a good team,” he said. “I told the players, the eight teams are the eight best teams of our conference. Not all the best players – they’re the best teams. So every one is a concern if you don’t play well. But the type of game that teams will play, I think will depend on how we play. We want to play our game and focus on our game.”

Lemaire also doesn’t buy into the notion that the most skilled players – like Kovalchuk or Zach Parise – will single-handedly decide the series.

“I think it’s going to depend on how the team plays as a group,” he explained. “How good we’ll be on defense, how good we’ll be in the net. How good we’ll be on the power play, on the penalty kill, 5-on-5. This will determine if we win.”

NJD NOTES
Kovalchuk is back in the playoffs for just the second time in his eight NHL seasons. He said he would be a little nervous just before the start of the game, but is hoping for his first postseason win on Wednesday

“I’m nervous before every game, but tonight will be special,” Kovalchuk said. “I’ve never won a playoff game. Hopefully tonight will be  the first one.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
M. Cammalleri 52 24 10 5 34
A. Henrique 57 12 20 -2 32
P. Elias 54 10 17 -12 27
S. Gomez 40 5 19 -10 24
M. Zidlicky 63 4 19 -7 23
T. Zajac 56 10 10 -3 20
S. Bernier 49 10 9 0 19
A. Larsson 46 3 16 5 19
M. Ryder 44 6 12 -2 18
A. Greene 64 2 13 7 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 24 23 6 .928 2.17
K. Kinkaid 3 4 3 .915 2.59