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Line change moves Loktionov up to top trio

Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 6:52 PM / 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 - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51