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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.
 
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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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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Posted On Wednesday, 05.16.2012 / 12:49 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Rangers keeping things the same for Game 2

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers likely will ice the same lineup for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS) as they did in Game 1.

The Rangers have shuffled lines, but they have used the same personnel since center Brian Boyle returned from a concussion for Game 2 of the conference semifinals against the Washington Capitals.

Here's what to expect when the team takes the ice:

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Artem Anisimov - Brian Boyle - Ruslan Fedotenko
Mike Rupp - John Mitchell - Brandon Prust

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto - Stu Bickel

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.16.2012 / 12:19 PM

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

Devils could have different look for Game 2

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer adjusted his line combinations Wednesday in an effort to present a different look against the New York Rangers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
 
The Devils, who generated their lowest shot total of the playoffs (21) in a 3-0 loss to the Rangers in Game 1 on Monday, are looking to even this best-of-seven series.
 
In addition to moving captain Zach Parise back to the top line with center Travis Zajac and right wing Ilya Kovalchuk, DeBoer had rookie Adam Henrique centering Alexei Ponikarovsky and David Clarkson, and Patrik Elias between Dainius Zubrus and Petr Sykora.
 
It would mark the first line adjustments made by DeBoer since Game 1 of the conference semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers.
 
"Obviously, we didn't score a goal last game, so on offense, shuffling guys around has been something we've done all year," DeBoer said. "We're definitely not married to those combinations, and I'm not even sure we're going to start with those combinations. It's just how we decided to skate [Wednesday] morning."
 
The fourth line remained untouched -- Stephen Gionta centering Steve Bernier and Ryan Carter.
 
"Poni [Ponikarovsky] is a big guy down low and is hard to push off the puck," Clarkson said. "It'll be good. We'll have to get the puck down low and do some cycling and grinding in the corners, and I think sometimes when you move things around a little bit, it's a good thing."
 
Elias agreed.
 
"We played with these line combos most of the year," he said. "Pete feels he needs to do something with the lines to get some momentum going. We have no issues and we know each other on the ice, so we'll be OK. You adjust … no one is looking into it too much."
 
In addition to the changes up front, it appears as though DeBoer will re-insert defenseman Peter Harrold, likely in place of rookie Adam Larsson.
 
"There's a chance," DeBoer said of the defensive switch. "We're going to look at some different things there, too. Obviously, we have the luxury of some depth on defense here, and we've got guys that bring different strengths to the table, so [Harrold] is an option."
 
Harrold played the opening nine games of the playoffs, totaling four assists and a plus-2 rating, before being replaced by Larsson in Game 2 of the conference semifinals against the Flyers.
 
"It looks like [I'll play]," Harrold said following Wednesday's 30-minute practice at AmeriHealth Pavilion. "We'll see. It would certainly be a lot better than watching, but I'm just hoping to get pucks through and make a difference on the offensive end. I think we played well for 40 minutes [in Game 1] and kind of got off our game a little bit."
 
Larsson has one goal and a plus-3 rating in five playoff games.
 
DeBoer said that if Larsson is a healthy scratch, it is not because of poor play.
 
"I really liked how Larsson has played since he's gone back in," DeBoer said. "So if we do move Larsson out, it's not a reflection on how he played; it's just getting a different type of element in there."
 
Parise said he wasn't fazed by the line adjustments.
 
"I've played with every centerman and Kovy [Kovalchuk] and I have played together, and Travis and Kovy play together," Parise said. "Patty, Sykora and Zubie [Zubrus] have been together most of the year. Hopefully, it'll produce some goals."
 
Here were the line combinations from Wednesday'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
 
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold
 
Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg
 
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mike_morreale
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.16.2012 / 12:00 PM

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

Devils: Brodeur's comments were 'off-the-cuff'

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils on Wednesday clarified a comment made by goalie Martin Brodeur that appeared in a story in the New York Post on Wednesday morning.

Following his team's Game 1 loss to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday, Brodeur was asked by a reporter about the Rangers' propensity to block shots. His response, as printed in the newspaper, read: "Hopefully, we'll be able to hurt a few guys [by] getting one-timers in the foot or their head or something …"

The portion of the quote not included in the newspaper story, and said immediately afterward, was "but [the Rangers] are paying the price to win and that's what hockey is all about."
 
Following Devils coach Peter DeBoer's press conference with the media Wednesday, the Devils' public-relations department said Brodeur's comments in the Post had no malicious intent.
 
"Obviously, those were not the intent of his comments at all," Devils assistant director of communications Pete Albietz told the media. "He said he would never even think like that. It was just an off-the-cuff comment. He was just referring to trying to get pucks through [on Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist], and that's it."
 
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.15.2012 / 4:23 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Rangers call up six players

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers announced that six players will join the club from Connecticut of the American Hockey League for the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- defensemen Tim Erixon and Dylan McIlrath, goaltender Cam Talbot and forwards J.T. Miller, Kris Newbury and Casey Wellman.

Only Erixon and Newbury have spent time with the Rangers this season. The group will serve as spare players -- the Black Aces -- and likely practice separately from the rest of the team going forward.

The 19-year-old Miller was the Rangers' first-round pick (No. 15) in the 2011 Entry Draft. Prior to joining the Whale, where he had one point in eight playoffs games, he played 61 games with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, totaling 25 goals and 37 assists.

McIlrath, 20, made his professional debut with Connecticut on April 9 against Bridgeport, and skated in two regular-season games with the Whale. The Rangers' 2010 first-round pick also appeared in five playoff games with Connecticut.  Prior to joining Connecticut, McIlrath had three goals and a career-high 20 assists in 52 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League.

Talbot, 24, posted a 14-15-1 record with a 2.61 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and four shutouts in 33 games with Connecticut.

Wellman, 24, split the season between Connecticut and the Houston Aeros, totaling 23 goals and 24 assists in 57 games. Wellman joined Connecticut on Feb. 3 after the Rangers acquired him from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Erik Christensen and a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.15.2012 / 3:00 PM

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

Brodeur finding game-day silence to be beneficial

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur has never been one to shy away from the media, game day or otherwise.
 
But during the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring, the future Hall of Fame goalie has decided to refrain from speaking to reporters on game days. He admitted on Tuesday during his morning press conference that the decision has been beneficial.
 
"You know, in the past, I think there was negative stuff talked to me in the morning," Brodeur said. "I felt early on in the series against Florida, everything I talked about was defending my team, not winning two games in a row, not winning a series since 2007. On game days, I don't need to have that aggravation in my head."
 
Brodeur is 8-4 with a 2.05 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 13 playoff appearances.
 
"I figure, you know what, I'm going to let it be for a time being in morning skates," Brodeur said. "It's been working out good. I've been a lot more positive and not had bad thoughts in my mind."
 
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.15.2012 / 2:50 PM

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

Injured Josefson hopeful of playing again this season

NEWARK, N.J. -- Injured New Jersey Devils center Jacob Josefson put in a solid workout at AmeriHealth Pavilion on Tuesday with the hope of rejoining the team at some point during its postseason run.
 
Josefson, who missed 37 regular-season games earlier this season with a broken clavicle as well as two more late in the season and the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs to this point with a fractured left wrist, was in pretty good spirits following his 40-plus minute on-ice instruction given by strength and conditioning coach Michael Vasalani.
 
Does he expect to return to the ice soon?
 
"That's my goal," Josefson said. "I'm working hard right now and there's an opportunity. It's tough to say where I'm at. I'm not 100 percent yet, but it's getting better and better every day and the strength [in the wrist] is almost back. The motion is almost normal, so its progress every day and I'm happy with that."
 
Josefson said Tuesday's workout was the hardest since the injury.
 
"It was probably the hardest on the ice, but working with the bike and running off the ice … that was even harder," he said. "I did learn a lot watching every game. It's good to watch and see what it's all about."
 
No timetable has been set for Josefson's return to the lineup.
 
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.15.2012 / 12:16 PM

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

Team meeting, no practice for Devils day after loss

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer gave his players a day off the ice on Tuesday as they go back to the drawing board to devise a strategy on how to get pucks behind New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
 
The Devils, who dropped a 3-0 decision to the Rangers on Monday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, will look to even this best-of-seven series on Wednesday back at Madison Square Garden.
 
While no player in Monday's lineup was on the ice on Tuesday here at AmeriHealth Pavilion, healthy scratches Peter Harrold, Tim Sestito, Cam Janssen, Eric Boulton and Matt Taormina were skating with the call-ups from the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Albany.
 
Additionally, defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who has been sidelined since Jan. 17 with a blood clot in his lower leg, and Jacob Josefson (wrist), both did some stretching exercises and drills on the ice.
 
DeBoer will speak with the media following a team meeting slated for 12:30 p.m. ET.
 
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Posted On Monday, 05.14.2012 / 1:06 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Projected Game 1 lineup for Rangers

NEW YORK -- Here are the potential line combinations and defense pairings the Rangers will employ for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils, which should be what they used two nights ago when they eliminated the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the conference semifinals.

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Artem Anisimov - Brian Boyle - Ruslan Fedotenko
Mike Rupp - John Mitchell - Brandon Prust

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto - Stu Bickel

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

Brandon Dubinsky (lower body) was seen walking through the locker room Monday morning and working out, but he remains out of the lineup and has not practiced in more than two weeks. Mats Zuccarello (wrist) is still working his way back to 100 percent, but he hasn't been taking shots at full strength during practices. Both won't be in the lineup for Game 1.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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