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Posted On Tuesday, 05.22.2012 / 4:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Brodeur getting yeoman's work from defense corps

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur was reminded of the Stanley Cup years on Tuesday afternoon.
 
He was asked if it's difficult to ask this year's defensive corps to live up to the standards set by retired standouts Scott Niedermayer, Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko.
 
All three players, who had their jerseys retired by the organization, played a part in three Stanley Cup titles in 1995, 2000 and 2003.
 
The three-time Stanley Cup-winning goalie does believe that this year's defense is, indeed, unnecessarily living in the shadows of those former stars in the Garden State.
 
"Definitely," Brodeur told the media on Tuesday. "And I don't think you can do it. I think these guys are … one is in the Hall of Fame [Stevens], one will be in the Hall of Fame soon [Niedermayer], and Dano is in his own Hall of Fame. It's tough to compare other defensemen, and even for the fan's point of view also to see how solid we were before." 
 
While the names Bryce Salvador, Andy Greene, Mark Fayne, Marek Zidlicky and Anton Volchenkov may not have the same intimidating effect as the aforementioned trio, Brodeur believes they've set their own standards -- and have succeeded.
 
"We have guys that are into it, are living something that they never lived before, and I think they're taking up the challenge as good as anybody could have done," Brodeur said. "I had my best confidence [in Game 4 on Monday]. I'm glad these guys are having success, and it's well-deserved because they've been working really hard at it and paying attention to a lot of small details that makes them successful."
 
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Posted On Monday, 05.21.2012 / 12:54 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Henrique no longer a rookie in DeBoer's eyes

NEWARK, N.J. -- It's gotten to a point where New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer won't think twice about giving rookie Adam Henrique a key role between two veteran players this postseason and for good reason.
 
Henrique, who is a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie, spent much of the regular season between captain Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk.
 
In Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers on Monday at Prudential Center, he'll work with Patrik Elias and Kovalchuk.
 
"Nothing changes in my game or their game," a confident Henrique told NHL.com. "We're not drawing up a whole new system for this game because we didn't win [Game 3]. We're getting our chances and just have to execute … you have to score goals to win games, and hopefully we will. All the guys like the combinations, so hopefully it gives us a spark."
 
Henrique, 22, was centering the team's third line with Alexei Ponikarovsky and David Clarkson. The change comes at a time when DeBoer has decided to give Jacob Josefson an opportunity to make his playoff debut with Henrique's former linemates.
 
For DeBoer, moving Henrique around isn't much of a concern. He has two goals, eight points and a plus-7 rating in 15 playoff games for the Devils.
 
"I think you forget how young he is, at least I do," DeBoer said. "I think it comes down to hockey sense, and responsibility … he's a responsible player. He's won before, which I think has put him in situations where he's had to play on the right side of the puck and put the puck in the right place and do the right thing. I think that those experiences have really quickened the learning curve at this level for me to be able to put him out there. I don't even think about his age now; we're way beyond that. He just gets the job done."
 
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Posted On Monday, 05.21.2012 / 12:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Devils not worried about Rangers' lineup

NEWARK, N.J. -- Don't expect the New Jersey Devils to adjust their style of play for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers on Monday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS) just because hard-hitting Brandon Prust is out of the lineup.
 
"One guy out, one guy in," Devils coach Peter DeBoer told the media Monday morning. "For us, nothing changes. I'm sure they're going to dress a good lineup and be ready to go."
 
Prust was suspended one game by the NHL's Department of Player Safety on Sunday for elbowing Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov in Game 3 at Prudential Center.

There was no word from the Rangers who they might insert into the lineup, but the Devils players said it wouldn't matter.
 
"At the end of the day, we're not worried about individual parts of their game," Devils forward David Clarkson said. "We've got to focus on ourselves and right now it's to keep getting the shots on net.
 
"We've got to stay out of the [penalty] box, because it's tough to put them in spots like that and when we do get power plays, we have to find a way to score and put those in."
 
The Devils haven't lost two straight games in the playoffs since back-to-back defeats against the Florida Panthers in Games 2 and 3 of the first round.
 
"We've got to come out with our best game and I'm confident we will," DeBoer said.
 
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Posted On Monday, 05.21.2012 / 11:42 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Game 4 lineup for Devils sees Josefson in, Sykora out

NEWARK, N.J. -- There were no new surprises with regard to lineup changes on the ice for the New Jersey Devils on Monday during the team's morning skate at Prudential Center.
 
Coach Pete DeBoer created a bit of stir with several new combinations at Sunday's practice, including the insertion of center Jacob Josefson on the team's third line. The coach confirmed on Monday that Josefson would replace Petr Sykora in the lineup.
 
What does he expect from Josefson?
 
"Basically just get in, bring us some energy, play like you did the last three, four weeks of the season," DeBoer said. "He's had a tough year between the injuries and the adversity, really over the last two years and I really felt the last two, three weeks of the season, he had re-found his game and his confidence.  If we can get a version of that player in the lineup [Monday], we'll be a better team."
 
The Devils have scored just three goals in three games against the New York Rangers and goalie Henrik Lundqvist in this best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals series that resumes Monday at Prudential Center with Game 4. The Rangers will be looking to take a commanding 3-1 series lead back to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
 
Josefson, who hasn't played since fracturing his left wrist against the Islanders on April 3, will center the Devils' third line between Alexei Ponikarovsky and David Clarkson.
 
"I've been playing with those guys before and they're both really good at using their body and protecting the puck and creating chances," Josefson told NHL.com. "It's fun to play with them. There may be some nervousness, but that's normal, that's good. When you're a little nervous you know you're ready."
 
When Sykora finished his skate, a throng of media members surrounded his stall, prompting the veteran forward to smile and proclaim, "I don't get this much media attention when I play."
 
Josefson, who was limited to 41 games during the regular season because of injuries, had two goals and nine points.
 
Similar to Sunday, DeBoer had Travis Zajac between Zach Parise and Dainius Zubrus on the top line and rookie Adam Henrique centering the second line between Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias.
 
"When the team is struggling to score goals, we're trying to mix, and [line changes] always happens," Kovalchuk said. "So [me and Elias] played together before, during the season. He's a great playmaker, always in a great position. So I think we can help each other a lot and create a lot of chances and hang in there. He can skate, and he's great with the puck so I'm really excited to play with Elias [on Monday]."
 
The only players who will play in Monday's game, but did not skate at the optional practice were defensemen Bryce Salvador and Andy Greene.
 
Here are the probable line combinations for Monday:
 
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Dainius Zubrus
Patrik Elias - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
 
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold
 
Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

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Posted On Saturday, 05.19.2012 / 6:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Devils to work on special teams before Game 4

NEWARK, N.J. -- Are the New Jersey Devils losing their "special" swagger against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals?
 
It would certainly appear that way.
 
Ilya Kovalchuk
Left Wing - NJD
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 13
SOG: 47 | +/-: -6
"I think specialty teams have been the different in this series," Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk said. "They score on their power play and we don't, so we have to work on that [Sunday] at practice."
 
The Rangers opened a 2-1 series lead on the Devils on Saturday at Prudential Center following a 3-0 victory. New Jersey not only allowed at least one power-play to the Rangers in the loss, but finished 0-for-5 on the power play.
 
"We just have to create the lanes and get the puck in the net," Kovalchuk said. "We got some good chances and good looks, but we got a couple stick breaks at the wrong time and we hit the post. I had some chances … we just have to keep working."
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Posted On Friday, 05.18.2012 / 4:00 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Brodeur talks Game 2 'scorpion save' on Gaborik


NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur couldn't help but smile when told his incredible right leg save while on his stomach against forward Marian Gaborik early in the second period of Game 2 had gone viral and was being labeled "Marty's scorpion save."
 
The stop came at the 2:01 mark when Gaborik broke in from the left circle and targeted a shot over a fallen Brodeur with the Rangers working the power play. Somehow, Brodeur was able to bend his right knee and deflect the puck away with the puck of his skate. It actually resembled that of a scorpion striking with its tail.
 
"Yeah, it's definitely one of the most interesting ones," Brodeur told the media on Friday. "I didn't know I was able to stretch that far with my leg behind me like that. You know, it's kind of a desperation move there. I got lucky to make the save. It looks good, but if you fast forward the tape for about 10 seconds and they score a goal, so that's not good."
 
Marc Staal connected against Brodeur just 22 seconds after the highlight-reel block. Still, it's just one more clip in the ever-growing collection for the future Hall of Fame goalie.
 
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Posted On Friday, 05.18.2012 / 3:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Josefson, Tallinder part of Devils practice

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils returned to the ice for practice on Friday at AmeriHealth Pavilion following their day off to begin serious preparations for the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
 
"We know the Rangers are going to come out and play a great hockey game, so it's on us to do the same thing," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "I expect it to be the best game of the series on Saturday from both ends because both teams want to take their game to another level."
 
The best-of-seven series, which is 1-1, resumes Saturday afternoon here at Prudential Center.
 
Devils forward David Clarkson, who scored the game-winning goal on Wednesday in a 3-2 victory at Madison Square Garden, said getting a day off the ice benefits the team.
 
"It's nice to get rest in the playoffs," Clarkson said. "Everyone is banged up, and to be able to spend time with the family and get a day away, and then get back to work, is nice. You can see everyone in [the locker room] is laughing and having fun. You guys can see how fun this locker room is."
 
In addition to the usual game day starters, forward Jacob Josefson and defenseman Henrik Tallinder also practiced with the team for the first time since suffering their injuries.
 
Josefson missed 37 games earlier this season with a broken clavicle and has been out of the lineup since April 3 with a non-displaced fracture of the left wrist. Tallinder hasn't played since Jan. 17 since being diagnosed with a blood clot in his lower leg.
 
"My gut is they'll be available at some point in the series," DeBoer said of Tallinder and Josefson. "So [they had their] first practice with the regular team [on Saturday]. They've been practicing with our AHL team, but it's a great step."
 
DeBoer also said his official lineup will be determined after pre-game warmups on Saturday.
 
Here were the line combinations at Friday's practice:
 
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
Extras: Eric Boulton - Jacob Josefson - Cam Janssen
 
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold
Extras: Henrik Tallinder - Adam Larsson
 
Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg
 
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Posted On Thursday, 05.17.2012 / 2:26 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Parise brings 'special combination' of work ethic, skill

NEWARK, N.J. -- Pete DeBoer has coached many great players in his career, including several during his junior hockey days.
 
The list includes forwards Mike Richards and Derek Roy, and goalie Steve Mason when he was with the Ontario Hockey League's Kitchener Rangers. He also mentored forwards Stephen Weiss, David Booth and Gregory Campbell and defenseman Dennis Seidenberg during his stint with the Florida Panthers.
 
Few, however, work as hard as New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise.
 
"There aren't many," DeBoer said. "He's right at the top of the list. What makes him special is, you've got guys like that that play on your fourth line on every team. They're there because of their relentless work ethic, but what separates [Parise] is he's got world-class skill and world-class hockey sense on top of that. That's the special combination Zach has."
 
Parise has certainly been front and center during the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring for the Devils. He has four goals, nine points, 36 hits and a team-leading 12 takeaways in 14 postseason games. He ranks second on the team among forwards in ice time (21:16) and ranks first with 57 shots on goal.
 
The experience of playing in his first Eastern Conference Finals series has been exciting. He's hoping the Devils can continue in Game 3 on Saturday at Prudential Center where they left off at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday in locking down a 3-2 victory.
 
"This series has been everything that we were anticipating really from the hockey standpoint," Parise said. "We expected tight games. We expected not a lot of room out there from either team and games down to the wire. I guess from everything else surrounding it, it's definitely more media coverage than we've ever seen, so that part is a little different than the attention that it's getting.
 
"But I think that's what you kind of have to expect when you're still playing at this time of the year."
 
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Posted On Thursday, 05.17.2012 / 2:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Devils willing to do the heavy lifting to win games

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer refers to his group as a "heavy team."
 
Heavy in that when they're not outworking the opposition along the walls or in the corners, they're not nearly as successful on the scoreboard.
 
"I think we're heavy on the puck, heavy on our sticks, we're heavy in the corners and along the walls, and that's the way we're built," DeBoer said during a conference call with the media on Thursday. "When we're playing our best, we're in those areas of the ice."
 
DeBoer gave his players a day off following a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 2 on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. The Devils will get back to work on Friday to prepare for Saturday's Game 3 against the Rangers on home ice at Prudential Center. 
 
Playing heavy and hard was certainly the recipe for success on Wednesday, when the Devils outworked the Rangers in the tough areas of the ice while outnumbering their opponent for the puck on numerous occasions.
 
"That's a big part of our game," DeBoer said. "We're not a team that wants to trade rush chances or power plays. We're not built that way, so I think our success has come, and it's a common theme, through five-on-five play and by wearing down the other team and playing in their end of the ice."
 
Devils captain Zach Parise realizes every game this time of the year will be tightly contested -- there are fewer odd-man rushes and breakaways. The only way to succeed is by outworking the opponent.
 
"When we're playing well, that's what we're doing, and it's a challenge against these guys because that's what they've been known for this year, outworking their opponent and kind of owning the puck down low and along the boards," Parise said. "I think we have to do a really good job of doing that if we want to beat these guys this series because that's a part they're really good at.
 
"At the same time, when we're playing well and winning, that's one area of our game that we're doing well."
 
The Devils forced five giveaways in Game 2 against the Rangers, one of which led to Ryan Carter's tip-in goal that tied the game, 2-2, late in the second period.
 
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Posted On Thursday, 05.17.2012 / 12:50 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Fourth line comes up big for Devils

NEW YORK -- Once again, the fourth line of the New Jersey Devils provided the necessary spark at the most opportune time.
 
With the second period winding down and the New York Rangers seemingly in control and clinging to a one-goal lead, Ryan Carter deflected a shot past Henrik Lundqvist with just 1:51 left to pull the visitors into a tie and provide just the impetus required in an eventual 3-2 triumph in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
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