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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



 
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 - 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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