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NEWS

Devils look to heat up for homestretch

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

Tuesday, 04.02.2013 / 4:25 PM / 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 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 61 26 31 4 157 191 56
14 TOR 62 25 32 5 170 189 55
15 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
M. Cammalleri 51 23 10 4 33
A. Henrique 56 12 20 -1 32
P. Elias 53 10 16 -13 26
S. Gomez 39 5 18 -9 23
M. Zidlicky 63 4 19 -7 23
T. Zajac 55 10 10 -4 20
S. Bernier 48 10 8 1 18
M. Ryder 44 6 12 -2 18
A. Larsson 45 2 16 3 18
M. Havlat 38 5 9 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 23 23 6 .927 2.19
K. Kinkaid 3 4 3 .915 2.59