Devils fired up for Game 5
Team ignores absence of Carter, Gagne; looks to improve own performance
|Clarkson ready for battle in Game 5.|
Zach Parise, who has a goal and three assists through the first four games, says to expect the same from the Flyers in Thursday's Game 5.
Philadelphia holds a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.
"I’m sure they’re still going to play the same way," Parise said. "They’re still going to be a hard-working, tough team to play against. I’m sure they’ve got guys they can insert right in there and do just fine. We still have to make sure we’re ready to play, and we can’t think it’s going to be an easy game just because those two guys are out."
Jacques Lemaire acknowledged that, initially, he didn't believe the injury report coming out of Philadelphia.
"I thought it was bull, as a matter of fact," he told reporters.
He wants the Devils to be focused only on bringing their "A" game. They need to win Thursday to force Game 6 at Philadelphia on Sunday. A win at Wachovia Center would bring the series back to the Rock for Tuesday's Game 7.
"I think the team at this time, the players, they should only have one thing in mind: to come out with their best game for 60 minutes," Lemaire said. "Nothing else. Nevermind who plays the other side, who doesn’t play. They need to focus on what they do well, nothing else."
Lemaire said consistency has proven elusive during certain stretches of the season. After posting the best first half record in franchise history, the Devils went the final three months of the season without a three-game winning streak.
But as long as the two-time defending Atlantic Division champs are still alive in this series, it's not too late to put their best foot forward.
"We’ve proven in the past that we can play two good periods, another period not as good," Lemaire said. "We could go on and play two and a half periods. There’s always a little moment that we get a little weaker or stop focusing on what gives us a good game, what gives us a lead, what gives us an edge on the other team."
David Clarkson is ready to go.
"We're the most fired up we could be," he said. "If you're not, there's a problem. It's one game at a time. If we go out there and put everything on the line, we'll be OK."
Clarkson expects the fans to be pumped up at Prudential Center with the season on the line.
"Our fans have been great," he said. "We have great fans, we have loyal fans. They've been great this whole season. I've been impressed with the turnout and how loud they've been. We're going to get that boost from them, I'm sure."
Brodeur: Get on the scoreboard
The Devils have scored three goals in the past two games of the series, leaving Martin Brodeur little margin for error. But he says the Devils have the big guns to turn up the offense on Brian Boucher in Game 5.
"We have the firepower offensively to be able to overcome a lot of different things we lack in our game, maybe," Brodeur said. "I think if we put it together, we've shown it in the regular season, we're able to score a lot of goals. We're going to give up chances just the way we play. We have to get on the board and get on the board often."
Before Tuesday's 4-1 loss, the series had been tightly contested. Though the Devils won, 5-3, in Game 2, it was a one-goal game until Ilya Kovalchuk's empty-netter in the final minute of regulation.
"We'll take any kind of lead," Brodeur said. "I think killer instinct is important in a playoff series."
Asked to gauge the mood of the team, Brodeur liked what he saw.
"I feel like [Wednesday] and today, I liked the attitude of the guys," he said. "Nobody's overly down on themselves. Guys are focused to bring their best game of the series tonight. It feels like it, but then again there were other nights it felt the same way and it didn't work out.
"It's going to be about how we perform, how we go out there. I really like the attitude of everybody, the coaching staff, how we got ourselves ready for the biggest game of our season."