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Devils positioned to be spoilers

Friday, 04.1.2011 / 2:59 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils positioned to be spoilers
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Eighth place might be out of reach with six games to go, but the Devils can still impact teams that are postseason-bound.

Five of their six remaining opponents currently hold playoff spots. The Devils visit MSG next Saturday to face the Rangers, who have a tenuous hold on eighth. The Maple Leafs, who visit Prudential Center on Wednesday, sit five points out of the final spot.

Jacques Lemaire said this morning he doesn’t find much motivation in the spoiler role, though. The Devils were set to host the Flyers tonight with Johan Hedberg in goal.

“Not to me, personally,” Lemaire said. “Even if you get points and, let’s say a team goes ahead of the team you beat because you beat them, it doesn’t do anything to us, really – not to me, anyway. I think you have to play for yourself; you have to play for your team, nothing else.”

The Hurricanes' late charge has them within three points of the Rangers with five games to go. Few Devils fans wouldn’t want to see their team stall the Rangers' playoff quest.

That scenario would be little comfort for Lemaire, however.

“You’re not in,” he said. “You try to knock them out – you’re not in. Really, you’re not good enough to make it. Trying to make the other team not make it, let’s try to make it instead.”

He’d rather be in the position of defeating a spoiler, not being one.

“This is a team that, let’s look at other teams to spoil our things, and us try to make the playoffs, that’s it,” he said. “Be in the playoffs, where we should be, I think.”

- Lemaire confirmed that Anton Volchenkov will be back in the lineup tonight. The defenseman has missed two games with a lower body injury he sustained one week ago in Pittsburgh.

 “Volchie will be in,” the coach said.

Who will come out of the lineup?

“It’s a secret,” he said.

- Ilya Kovalchuk has work to do. He joked after the morning skate that he needs to improve on his breakaways against Martin Brodeur. WIth Hedberg getting tonight’s start, Brodeur has a rare day off, but took the ice anyway for today’s optional.

The forwards practiced their breakaways on Brodeur, who stopped Kovalchuk on two of three opportunities.

“He beat me 2-1,” Kovalchuk said. “I got one goal, he stopped me twice. So he’s good.”

Kovalchuk’s goal was a beauty: he dragged the puck across the front of the net before roofing it over Brodeur’s catching glove.

“That’s the only goal I got, but we’re working on that,” Kovalchuk said. “I’ve got to be better. I try to be. Yeah, he’s pretty good. He’s a pretty good goalie.”

Parise's new tools.
- Zach Parise said it’s all systems go for his return to the lineup tomorrow against Montreal. He’s been out of action since Oct. 30 and tonight will miss his 65th game since his knee injury.

The four-time 30-goal scorer will be a little nervous.

“I already kind of am, definitely will be,” Parise said. “I guess it’s kind of like the first game of the year all over again. Yeah, a little nervous, for sure.”

But he’ll have to watch one more game before he rejoins his teammates.

“I’ll probably just be thinking during the whole game tonight, just excited about tomorrow,” he said. “Just kind of getting myself mentally prepared tonight for tomorrow’s game, just watching different things, different system things, positionally, and what the guys are doing now because it’s a little different than when I was playing before.”

Parise will be using Easton sticks that are almost completely black except for yellow graphics on the stick blade and near the bottom of the shaft. It’s a new look, though Parise said the pattern is unchanged.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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