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NEWS

DeBoer shuffles lines to spark offense

Monday, 03.26.2012 / 4:04 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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DeBoer shuffles lines to spark offense
Peter DeBoer tinkered some more with his lines at Monday's practice hoping to find offensive balance over the final six games of the regular season.

Travis Zajac, who returned Sunday after missing 37 games with Achilles tendon soreness, centered Adam Henrique and Ilya Kovalchuk. Zach Parise remained with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus. The third and fourth lines were Alexei Ponikarovsky-Jacob Josefson-David Clarkson and Petr Sykora-Ryan Carter-Steve Bernier. 

The Devils (42-28-6) have scored 10 goals in their last seven games (2-4-1).

"I just think I've got to get comfortable over these last six games heading into the playoffs with four lines that I feel I can trust, and also that can create some offense," DeBoer said. "That's the goal. It's a tough time of year. We're going to move guys around until we get that."

Zajac had an assist and won 10 of 16 faceoffs in Sunday's 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh. He looked sharp skating with Ponikarovsky and Kovalchuk, and nearly netted a goal of his own on a rebound opportunity.

"It felt better as the game went on, obviously," Zajac said Monday. "For me, it's just about trying to get better every game."

Zajac has a goal and three assists in nine games this season, and said he still has things he hopes to work on with the playoffs approaching.

"There's plenty," he said. "You can always improve. Obviously, I still have a ways to go. For me right now, it's just about trying to be in the right positions, not overextend myself and do too much."

To DeBoer, Zajac made a noticeable impact in his first game since Jan. 2.

"It was great to have him back," DeBoer said. "It's a great luxury to add a top six forward this time of year, and a guy that's so versatile and can do so many things. He was great in the faceoff circle, he can kill penalties, he can help on the power play, he's responsible. The best players on our team enjoy playing with him, so he's an easy guy to play with. It's a great addition."

DeBoer spoke Monday about eliminating some of the mistakes that cost the Devils against the Penguins. That attention to detail will be vital heading into Tuesday's home meeting with Chicago.

"Similar teams," the coach said. "You've got [Patrick] Sharp and [Patrick] Kane and those type of guys. They play a similar game to the [Evgeni] Malkins and [Sidney] Crosbys. Hopefully, lesson learned and we can tighten it up."

Anton Volchenkov (lower body) did not practice and remains day-to-day. "He's feeling better, but not ready to skate yet," DeBoer said. Defenseman Peter Harrold was recalled from Albany (AHL).

David Wohlberg, New Jersey’s seventh choice (sixth round), 172nd overall in the 2008 Entry Draft, was headed to Albany where he was set to sign an amateur tryout contract and be added to the Albany (AHL) roster. Wohlberg played four seasons with the University of Michigan (CCHA).

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 64 41 18 5 172 142 87
2 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
3 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
11 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
M. Cammalleri 52 24 10 5 34
A. Henrique 57 12 20 -2 32
P. Elias 54 10 17 -12 27
S. Gomez 40 5 19 -10 24
T. Zajac 56 10 10 -3 20
S. Bernier 49 10 9 0 19
A. Larsson 46 3 16 5 19
M. Ryder 44 6 12 -2 18
A. Greene 64 2 13 7 15
E. Gelinas 44 5 9 -2 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 24 23 6 .928 2.17
K. Kinkaid 3 4 3 .915 2.59