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Loktionov to center Jagr, Zubrus vs. Oilers

Friday, 02.7.2014 / 12:59 PM ET / News
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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Loktionov to center Jagr, Zubrus vs. Oilers



 
NEWARK, N.J. -- In an effort to jump-start the offense, New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer will incorporate a few lineup changes Friday against the Edmonton Oilers at Prudential Center.

DeBoer will have Andrei Loktionov centering left wing Dainius Zubrus and right wing Jaromir Jagr against the Oilers. Travis Zajac, who developed good chemistry playing alongside Jagr the past three months, is expected to skate between left wing Patrik Elias and right wing Damien Brunner.

Loktionov was a healthy scratch for six games before being held without a point in the past two losses to the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche. He now moves alongside team scoring leader Jagr (48 points) in a game the Devils desperately need to maintain pace in the Eastern Conference. Loktionov skated with Jagr earlier in the season, so he does have some experience.

"It was tough when you're not playing," Loktionov said. "I can't say how I'm feeling right now but I know Jagr can only help my game."

The Devils rank 26th in the League with a 2.33 goals per game average, but have averaged just 1.83 goals over the past six (2-2-2).

"We respect players' opinions, but players often aren't looking at the big picture of the team," DeBoer said when asked what Jagr's reaction was when informed of the lineup change.

"They're looking at setting the table for individual success. For us, this is about finding another goal out of our group. I think Jagr has produced lately, but we have 11 other forwards we have to try and get going. I think he understands that.

There will be no change in goal as Cory Schneider is expected to make his fifth consecutive start. Defenseman Anton Volchenkov (lower body) is a game-time decision. Volchenkov missed the team's overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday but felt good in his return to practice the past two days. He was one of the last players off the ice on Friday.

Five players did not skate at the optional practice on Friday for the Devils, including Zubrus and forward Michael Ryder and defensemen Andy Greene, Peter Harrold and Bryce Salvador.

Schneider is 6-2-4 in the past 12 games with a 1.47 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage. He ranks second in the NHL with a 1.91 GAA for the season, and sixth with a .925 save percentage.

"We had a good week of practice and had time to go over things and sort of re-analyze," Schneider said. "We're looking forward to these next two games, making a statement going into the break and putting ourselves in a good position so everyone is in a good frame of mind."

The Devils will play the Washington Capitals on Saturday in the last game before the Olympic break. New Jersey will open its post-Olympic schedule on Feb. 27 against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Prudential Center. The Devils will play 14 of their 23 games after the break at home.

DeBoer acknowledged he hasn't yet determined his starting goalie against the Capitals. Martin Brodeur's last start was Jan. 26 at Yankee Stadium against the New York Rangers. He allowed six goals on 21 shots and was pulled after two periods.

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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