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Devils await conference final opponent

Thursday, 05.10.2012 / 2:02 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils await conference final opponent



 
For the Devils, the wait continues.

They took care of their own business on Tuesday, ousting the rival Flyers in five games to clinch a berth in the Eastern Conference final. But Washington's Game 6 win over the Rangers on Wednesday means the Devils still don't know who stands between them and their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since 2003.

Game 7 between the Rangers and Capitals is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

"We're happy we're still playing," captain Zach Parise said Thursday. "I don't think it matters for us at all [who we play]. We've done a good job being prepared for both teams that we've played this year. We're more concerned with how we're playing as a team, and we're comfortable with how we're playing that we can match up against anyone."

The Capitals forced a seventh game by beating the Rangers, 2-1, at Verizon Center. It will be the second Game 7 for both clubs: Washington went the distance in knocking off the defending-champion Bruins, while the Rangers took out Ottawa.

That figures to be an advantage for the Devils, who should be well rested by the start of the next round.

"Every time you've got to play another game, we went through it with Florida, you're emptying the reserves in the tank, you're risking injury – all kinds of things are going on, potentially," Coach Peter DeBoer said. "It's not necessarily a formula for success if you're sitting home and someone else is playing, as we showed against Philly, but I think if you handle it right, it should be an asset for us."

Parise agreed that fatigue could be a factor for the Devils' next opponent.

"Hopefully it'll wear them out a little bit," he said. "I think, for them, they've got two days off before that Game 7, but hopefully they'll wear each other out a little more and we'll take advantage of the rest."

Some Devils said they plan on watching the deciding contest. Others admitted to being less focused on how it unfolds.

"I'll be paying attention," Parise said. "I don't know if I'll watch it or not, but I'll definitely be checking the score to see what happened."

Home ice advantage hangs in the balance. The Devils would open a Rangers series at the Garden, but a matchup against Washington would start at Prudential Center.

"I'll watch for sure," said David Clarkson. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to be at home with the game on, or watching parts of it, anyway. I probably won't watch the whole game, but I'll definitely watch some of it."

Martin Brodeur tuned in to Game 6 and saw Washington take a 2-0 lead before holding on for the win.

"It's going to be an interesting game [7]," he said. "I watched what happened [Wednesday] night. I have to try to do my homework, but I'm doing it on both sides. It'll be an exciting game to see who we're going to play."

Will it be the Rangers? The Caps? Brodeur believes it won't matter if the Devils can execute on their end. Still, a Devils-Rangers series has the potential to add another great chapter to what's already one of the top rivalries in hockey.

"I think a lot of people are looking at that to be a great matchup," Brodeur said. "But, for us, it's what we need to do to be successful. If it happens to be the Rangers, I think people will be really happy in this area. I think Washington is the same way. They have a great building, you saw that [Wednesday] in the way they got their support. It would be a tough place to play, too. One way or the other, for us, it doesn't matter. It's just about what we do."

Notes
Anton Volchenkov and Marek Zidlicky both rested Thursday and not take part in practice. Both are expected to be ready for Game 1… Defenseman Matt Taormina skated in practice.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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