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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.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51

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