D-men more active under Lemaire
Andy Greene, who was second among New Jersey defenseman with 20:47 of ice time, led the D corps with four shots. He credited new strategy from Jacques Lemaire for the turnaround.
“I think we definitely were up a little more (Wednesday),” Greene said. “We were keeping pucks in and we had good support coming back, too. We had that third guy high that allows us to go in there. When they do that, it’s easier for us to keep pucks in.”
The Devils have struggled to score, particularly from the back end. Of the 12 different skaters to have suited up defensively this season, only four have at least one goal. The lead in that category – three – belongs to Matt Taormina, who has not played since Nov. 12.
More aggressive play from defensemen is something Greene says Lemaire has encouraged.
“Yeah, definitely,” Greene said. “Getting us up the ice, getting into the play, make sure we’re following it up closely, get good gaps and make sure we’re ready when the puck’s coming. Not pinches, but sometimes it’s a pinch. Just being ready for (the puck).”
Lemaire has emphasized the first pass coming out of the defensive zone.
“It’s something we’ve been working on, is getting the puck up quickly so our forwards know what we’re doing, so everyone’s on the same page,” Greene said. “We’re not going D to D five, six times. It’s kind of, get that first option, and if it’s not there go to your partner, then it’s right up (to the forwards). It’s not, hang on to it. If the play’s there obviously make it, but it’s something that we’re trying to do; we’re all trying to get on the same page so everyone knows what’s going on.”