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Devils eager to open six-game homestand

Monday, 01.16.2012 / 3:27 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils eager to open six-game homestand



 
The Devils are happy to be back home, even happier to have taken two of three on last week’s swing through western Canada.

Saturday’s 2-1 win in Winnipeg capped an impressive 3-1 road trip that included victories in Pittsburgh and Edmonton. Martin Brodeur posted 22 saves against the Jets as the Devils won for the fourth time in their last five outings.

“We’re good, we’re feeling good about ourselves,” Brodeur said Monday. “There’s a lot of room for improvement. We have some big tests this week. Winnipeg is a team that needs to win every game to try and jump back in, and we’re going to play Boston and Philly. It’s going to be tough, and a Buffalo team that’s in a similar position as Winnipeg. All four games [before the All-Star break] I think are a big test for us.”

Brodeur is expected to get the start Tuesday, when the Jets visit to close out the home-and-home. It's the beginning of a six-game homestand that will see Boston, Philadelphia and Buffalo come to town before the All-Star Weekend begins next Thursday in Ottawa.

The Rangers and Canadiens make stops at the Rock after the break.

“We just need to keep winning games,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “You see this League, and you take your foot off the gas for a weekend, never mind a six-game homestand, and you can be on the bottom looking up pretty quickly. We’re doing some good things, we’re putting points in the bank on a regular basis and we need to continue to do that.”

DeBoer took plenty of positives from the trip.

“I think it was a real good bonding trip for us,” he said. “It was the first trip in a while that we’ve had some real time off between games in a city. We’ve been on the road for an extended period, five or six days, so I thought the guys got to really spend some time together and I thought it was a real good bonding trip away from the rink.”

Entering Monday’s games, the Devils (25-17-2) sat sixth in the East, two points ahead of eighth-place Pittsburgh and three ahead of ninth-place Toronto. They’re right in the middle of the postseason hunt with 38 games to go.

“We don’t pay much attention, but again, we need to be in that pack,” Brodeur said. “Slowly you put some teams down, and Winnipeg is a team that’s below us, so the two points we got from them was important and the ones from tomorrow will be even more important.”

Adam Henrique (groin), who missed Saturday's game, skated on his own before Monday's practice. Petr Sykora had a rest day.

“It felt pretty good,” Henrique said. “It’s more just day-to-day. We’ll see how it feels [Tuesday] and just go from there.”

Henrique is tied with Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the rookie goal lead (13), and trails Nugent-Hopkins by one for the lead in rookie assists and points.

“I think with anything, obviously you don’t want to rush back,” Henrique said. “Obviously you want to play, but I think you have to take the right measures and right precautions at this time.”

Dainius Zubrus once again centered Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk as the Devils adjust to another injury at pivot. Jacob Josefson, sidelined since Oct. 21, is nearing a return after making two appearances with the Devils’ AHL affiliate in Albany. Travis Zajac (soreness) will not return until after the All-Star break. 

“It’s been hard,” Parise said. “Ten games into the season, we’re down with two of the guys you had pencilled in as your one and two centermen. Those guys were gone right away. Now with Adam being hurt, too, it makes the hill even more of a challenge, but I thought we did OK in Winnipeg. Zubie’s played center before, so he’s got a little bit of experience there. Hopefully he can fill in there until Adam’s ready to go again.”

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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