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NEWS

Devils positioned to be spoilers

Friday, 04.01.2011 / 2:59 PM / 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 PIT 32 22 6 4 102 72 48
2 NYI 33 23 10 0 104 91 46
3 MTL 34 21 11 2 92 83 44
4 TBL 35 20 11 4 113 93 44
5 DET 34 17 8 9 94 84 43
6 TOR 34 19 12 3 114 102 41
7 NYR 31 17 10 4 93 81 38
8 WSH 32 16 10 6 95 85 38
9 BOS 34 17 14 3 86 88 37
10 FLA 31 14 9 8 69 79 36
11 OTT 33 14 13 6 89 92 34
12 PHI 33 13 14 6 92 99 32
13 CBJ 32 14 15 3 79 102 31
14 NJD 35 12 17 6 77 102 30
15 BUF 34 13 18 3 66 109 29
16 CAR 33 9 20 4 68 92 22

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 28 9 11 0 20
J. Jagr 34 5 15 -11 20
M. Zidlicky 35 4 13 -5 17
M. Cammalleri 23 11 4 0 15
M. Ryder 33 4 10 -1 14
P. Elias 29 4 9 -16 13
D. Severson 32 4 8 -4 12
E. Gelinas 28 4 6 2 10
A. Greene 35 0 9 -3 9
T. Zajac 27 4 4 -6 8
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Kinkaid 1 1 2 .939 1.75
C. Schneider 11 16 3 .915 2.57