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
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 67 16 24 -2 40
M. Cammalleri 60 25 12 5 37
S. Gomez 50 7 24 -7 31
P. Elias 61 10 20 -16 30
S. Bernier 59 13 14 3 27
T. Zajac 66 11 12 -2 23
A. Larsson 56 3 19 3 22
A. Greene 74 3 17 5 20
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
E. Gelinas 54 6 11 -2 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 27 8 .928 2.19
K. Kinkaid 5 4 3 .919 2.42