NEWS

Devils look to heat up for homestretch

DeBoer: 'We've got to take care of business and get some wins'

Tuesday, 04.2.2013 / 4:25 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils look to heat up for homestretch



 
A flurry of activity in the days leading up to Wednesday's trade deadline hasn't changed Peter DeBoer's outlook for his own club.

As general managers across the League have looked to tweak their rosters in advance of the 3 p.m. cutoff, the Devils' head coach said Tuesday that he's confident in his team's potential heading into the homestretch.

"As a coach, you coach the guys that you have in the room," DeBoer said. "I like the group we have in the room, and I believe the group in the room can get the job done."

The Devils held off-ice workouts Tuesday following a team meeting. With DeBoer's group looking to snap a four-game winless skid heading into Thursday's matchup in Boston, little needed to be said.

"Not a lot [to talk about], just more about the opportunity we have in front of us here over the next 12 games," DeBoer explained. "We're in a playoff spot, we control our own destiny, and we've got to take care of business and get some wins."

Monday's 3-1 loss to the Islanders was just the Devils' (15-12-9, 39 pts) third regulation defeat in their last 11 games (4-3-4), but they now hold only a two-point cushion over the Rangers and Isles, who were deadlocked in a battle for the final playoff spot in the East.

"Obviously with the home stretch now, you've gotta stay positive," Patrik Elias said. "We know what we're supposed to fix, and that's to find a way to win. It's not easy, but there's a fine line between that. We've seen the way it happened to us this past week. We've got to move forward. We have tough games coming up, really tough games. They'll be fun to play in."

New Jersey might hope for a repeat of last year, when they overcame a sluggish March and got hot at just the right time. They went 2-4-1 from March 13-25 before ending the regular season on a six-game winning streak.

That momentum eventually carried them within two wins of the Stanley Cup.

"We have to look ahead here," Adam Henrique said. "There's only 12 games left – we know we can win. We're in a good spot here. We're playing teams that are ahead of us, and that we can catch. Twelve games is not a lot, so we're just going to leave everything out there every night."

The Devils are still seeking their first win (0-1-3) since Ilya Kovalchuk was lost to a shoulder injury on March 23. Their next opportunity comes against a Bruins squad that on Tuesday acquired Jaromir Jagr from Dallas.

In the meantime, No. 17 has begun to rehab.

"He's going to be back," DeBoer said. "That's on the horizon, but it's not in the near future. That's something we can't control. We've got the 20 guys that we're going to put out on the ice Thursday night and then on the weekend; [those] are the guys that have to get the job done."

Regardless of Kovalchuk's status, DeBoer's message remains the same.

"You've got to have that stick-with-it mentality and that's something we've been preaching all year," he said. "For the most part, a lot of nights we've outshot and/or outchanced the other team. If you do that enough, it's going to translate into wins. You've got to stick with it."

Follow the Devils Communications department on Twitter: @NHLDevilsPR

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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