Coach's notes 11.27
John MacLean won't make any lineup changes for today's 1 p.m. meeting with the Flyers, but expects to tweak his lines in preparation for the defending Eastern Conference champions.
First and foremost, he's counting on a better effort than he got from his club in Friday's 2-0 loss at Long Island.
"Yeah, I think so," MacLean said. "Coming in against a team like Philly, you’re going to have to be on top of your game. You have to be ready to play and I think the guys will bounce back here. If we play together, we should get a win."
MacLean juggled his lines Friday, promoting Adam Mair to the top line and moving Alexander Vasyunov to the fourth line with Rod Pelley and Stephen Gionta. The Devils (7-14-2) have won three straight at home but were denied their first three-game winning streak since last December.
"You’re trying to get guys going, different guys, you have to try different combinations," MacLean said. "We may have to try different combinations today, also."
It's part of the process of getting the team into the wins column more consistently.
"I wish we could just stay with the same lines all the time, but if they’re not going, you have to try something," he said. "We’re going to keep trying until we get it right and consistently get going on the right track."
The Devils used net presence to great effect in Monday's 5-0 romp over Washington, driving to the goalmouth to give more time and space to puck carriers
"We keep saying, when you’re launching attacks or you’re going through the neutral zone, somebody has to sacrifice for the guy with the puck," MacLean said. "Last game especially, we weren’t sacrificing and that’s what we have to do. We have to get the guy going to the net to give the guy with the puck some options, back somebody off. When we do that, we’re fine, but we have to do it consistently."
Today's challenge will be taking on a Flyers team that's second in the conference, holds a 6-2-2 mark on the road, and has gone 6-2-2 in its last 10.
"Highly skilled team, they come at you with a balanced attack," MacLean said of Philadelphia. "Their back end’s very good. They’re a good hockey club. We’re going to have to be on top of our game to beat them. They spread out their talent pretty well on their four lines, and their back end moves the puck. Concerns for us would be managing the puck properly through the neutral zone, winning one-on-one battles. It’s going to come down to smart decisions with the puck."
The Devils dropped five of six against the Flyers last season before losing to them in five games in the Eastern quarterfinals.