NEWS

Line change moves Loktionov up to top trio

Tuesday, 02.4.2014 / 6:52 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Line change moves Loktionov up to top trio
Line change moves Loktionov to top trio



 
Peter DeBoer's quest for more offense continued Tuesday at AmeriHealth Pavilion.

The head coach tweaked the lineup he used in Monday's overtime loss to Colorado, flipping his top two centers at practice. Andrei Loktionov moved between Dainius Zubrus and Jaromir Jagr, and Travis Zajac slid down to the second line between Patrik Elias and Damien Brunner.

The Devils have points in three straight games (1-0-2) with two remaining before the two-week Olympic break. Though they hit three goal posts on Monday, close wasn't close enough to nail down the second point.

"We haven't had more than one 5-on-5 goal in the last four games and it's not enough for us to win," DeBoer said. "It's nice to talk about chances and opportunities and zone time and shots, but it's about production right now. We're going to move some things around and hopefully get some."

Jagr leads the Devils with 48 points (17g-31a) and Zajac is third with 29 (9g-20a). They've spent much of the season together, mainly with Zubrus at left wing. Loktionov, who has made back-to-back appearances since being a healthy scratch for six games, got a look between Zubrus and Jagr for a handful of contests in early November that included a 5-0 victory over Nashville on Nov. 10.

The Devils (23-21-13) have been held under three goals 15 times in their last 20 games. Change was needed, but didn't come easy.

"Yeah, I was a little reluctant," DeBoer said. "I know Jags likes consistent linemates. Some guys prefer that, some guys don't mind change. I know he's said before that he likes to play with the same guys at the same time. That only works if you're getting consistent production, and we haven't gotten enough recently."

DeBoer can put his new lines to the test on Friday, when the Devils host the Edmonton Oilers at Prudential Center.

"It's all about production right now," he said. "I think what people have to realize and players have to realize is, coaches would love to come into the season and keep four lines together all year and never make a change. That would be perfect. The reality of the situation is, you go with combinations you think have some chemistry, you try and give them a chance to get through some tough times and come out the other side and work through it.

"At some point you have to cut your losses and move on to something else. That's the process we go through."

Anton Volchenkov did not practice Tuesday.

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