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NEWS

Coach's Corner - 3/18

Friday, 03.18.2011 / 5:35 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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Coach\'s Corner - 3\/18
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Jacques Lemaire spoke to the media before Friday's game against Washington, and confirmed that Martin Brodeur would make his 10th consecutive start in goal.

"I think Marty’s doing a good job here," Lemaire said. "He’s playing at his best this year. He feels good. We ask him how he feels; he feels good, so that’s the reason why he’s in."

The Devils dropped a 3-1 decision Thursday night in Ottawa. They didn't lose ground in the playoff race, and still trail idle Buffalo by six points with 12 games remaining.

Still, a win versus the Capitals would be nice. The Devils are looking up at Carolina, Atlanta and Toronto in the race for the final spot.

"We do have to win this game," Lemaire said. "We want to stay in the race, and if we want to have a chance, just a chance, to be there, we have to win big games."

New Jersey outshot the Senators 34-25, but were stymyed by a hot goaltender. Curtis McElhinney made 33 saves and stole the game.

Led by the likes of Alex Ovechkin and the returning Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals pose a different sort of challenge. Michal Neuvirth starts for the visitors.

"Washington moves the puck so well, and they have so many guys that can score and make plays," Lemaire said. "They move everywhere in the zone. I know you can capitalize sometimes if you’re sharp and you can [make them] turn the puck over at that point, but in the zone, you’ll have to play good position and try to get these turnovers."

The chances were there for the Devils in Ottawa, but they fell to the Senators for the second time in nine days. They're 7-2-0 in their last nine, with both losses coming against the Sens.

"It’s strange because the two games we lost against them, it’s probably the two games we’ve had the most chances, and we lost them It’s disappointing because of that," Lemaire said. "You say, ‘Well we had the chances, we just didn’t score enough.’ Then you go with other teams that you only get eight chances, nine chances and then you end up winning the game. I feel we had over 15 chances [against Ottawa]. That’s nearly double, and you end up with a loss."

Devils-Capitals features two of the NHL's top Russian stars in Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk.

"Two great players," Lemaire said. "They’re players that can do a lot on their own. They’re great skaters, great shots – both of them. Good with the puck. Very similar.

"The difference? Ovechkin (29) has more goals than Kovy (26). That’s the difference."

With five goals in his last eight games, Kovalchuk has been one of the hottest scorers in the Devils' lineup. That has drawn more attention from opponent defenders.

"They put checkers against him," Lemaire said. "Everyone is more careful. It’s like us, playing Ovechkin, you can’t say, ‘Well, he’s like another player.’ He’s not. He’s different, so you have to pay more attention. Our defensemen have got to play him a little tighter. You give him room, he’s got all kinds of moves, finds a way to get shots."

Kovalchuk was held to one shot last night: a breakaway that McElhinney stopped with 6:26 to go in regulation.

"He had I think four attempts to shoot, which shots were blocked," said the coach. "The amount of shots that he’s been getting lately, it’s not enough for him. He has to find a way to get more shots, hit the net, get the puck at the net. He’s a guy that I would say when he gets six, seven shots on net, he’s at his best at that point."

As the season winds down to its final few weeks, the Devils will have less and less margin for error. Lemaire expected them to bring their best Friday night.

"If there’s a letdown tonight, there’s something wrong," he said. "There can’t be a letdown tonight."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 47 27 12 8 143 120 62
6 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
7 WSH 47 24 14 9 140 124 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 40 10 16 -1 26
J. Jagr 43 9 16 -10 25
M. Cammalleri 35 15 6 -3 21
P. Elias 37 6 14 -14 20
M. Zidlicky 47 4 16 -7 20
M. Ryder 42 6 12 -2 18
T. Zajac 39 8 8 -7 16
S. Gomez 23 4 12 -5 16
S. Bernier 32 6 7 1 13
M. Havlat 29 5 7 -10 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 19 4 .920 2.41
K. Kinkaid 1 3 3 .913 2.54