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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 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 53 15 24 7 39
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
K. Palmieri 53 20 15 3 35
A. Henrique 51 17 16 14 33
T. Zajac 45 7 18 6 25
D. Schlemko 45 6 9 -9 15
A. Larsson 53 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 50 1 12 0 13
A. Greene 53 4 6 2 10
J. Josefson 42 3 7 -13 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 23 15 6 .929 2.03
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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