NEWS

Foster not surprised by Ducks' turnaround

Ready to faces ex-teammates on Friday

Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 3:06 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Foster not surprised by Ducks\' turnaround
Kurtis Foster's stay in Anaheim wasn't a long one, but he's still looking forward to facing his former team when the Devils host the Ducks on Friday.

The Devils (32-20-4) snapped a two-game skid and strengthened their hold on a playoff spot with Tuesday's 4-1 win in Buffalo. Sixth in the East, New Jersey leads ninth-place Washington by seven points.

"You always get a little more revved up because it is a team you were a part of," Foster said Thursday. "But I've been part of a couple of teams now, whether it's Minnesota or Tampa or Edmonton – you get fired up. Also, it's a time of the year when games are so important. We're fighting to get up in the standings, and they're fighting to get close to the [playoff] standings, so it's going to be a battle."

Foster was acquired along with goaltending prospect Timo Pielmeier on Dec. 12 in exchange for Rod Pelley, Mark Fraser and a seventh-round pick at this year's Draft.

He tallied a goal and an assist in nine games with the Ducks, but has had a more significant role in New Jersey, where he's contributed three goals and nine assists in 27 games, including two power-play markers.

"It's always fun to play against friends, but I didn't spend too much time there so it's not going to be that big of a game [personally]," Foster said. "But still, you want to beat the team that traded you away, for sure."

Foster spoke highly of Saku Koivu, whose brother Mikko was a teammate in Minnesota, and of Teemu Selanne, who just tied Brendan Shanahan for 12th all-time with 656 goals.

"[Saku] was great to me at the beginning helping me get used to everything," Foster said. "Teemu's just an awesome guy. He's an ambassador for the game, he's amazing. He's in great shape, takes care of himself and he's amazing to watch every day. He's probably one of the nicest guys I've ever played with.

"Those are definitely guys that you want to say hello to, but you definitely don't want to give them a win. Hopefully they go home not feeling too good, but you can say hello after the game."

Both 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, the Devils and Ducks represent two of the League's hottest clubs. Anaheim, which got off to a 7-13-4 start under coach Randy Carlyle, has gone 17-11-5 under Bruce Boudreau, who replaced Carlyle on Nov. 30.

"They're a good team," said Devils coach Peter DeBoer. "They had a slow start… but you knew they were a better team than where their record was. Over the last few years, they've been in the mix with the best teams in the League at different points."

The Ducks (24-24-9) entered Thursday's action six points behind Phoenix for the final playoff spot in the West.

"At the beginning of the year, even though I wasn't playing much, you're always in the room, around the guys," Foster recalled. "Guys were almost out of words to explain what was going on. Nobody understood because of the players we had, and the talent we had."

Their arsenal includes reigning MVP Corey Perry and talented New Jersey native Bobby Ryan. Add to that the goaltending of Jonas Hiller, who's 6-2-3 against the Eastern Conference, with a 2.31 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.

Hiller made 25 saves in the Ducks' 2-1 win at Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

"They're playing great," Foster said. "Ever since Bruce took over, it took them awhile to get going, but the last 20 games or so, they're playing really well. They have great players, they have great forwards, good D and a good goalie. You knew it was a matter of time before they got things changed around."

Foster made one appearance in five games under Boudreau, but could see the difference made by the ex-Caps coach.

"It was just a different voice in the room," Foster explained. "Randy was a very tough coach, hard to play for. He expected a lot, and Bruce is a little more of a players' coach, easy to talk to. The guys liked the change and it seems to be working, so good for them."

He added: "Even with where they are in the standings, you've got to be prepared to play because they're a big, strong, tough, very skilled team that makes you bring your best."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59