NEWARK, N.J. --
It has now been five days since the New Jersey Devils
last played a game -- a 4-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators
Needless to say, the players are chomping at the bit. The Devils will open their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Florida Panthers
on Friday at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise.
"We thought we were going to play Wednesday or Thursday [when the schedule initially came out], but that's how 21st century TV dictates everything," Ilya Kovalchuk
said. "It's OK, though. We'll take the extra day because we played a lot of hockey in March."
The Devils went 10-5-2 in the month of March, their busiest month of the season.
The players practiced for approximately 60 minutes on Thursday at AmeriHealth Pavilion at Prudential Center before heading back to the locker room. The team departs for Sunrise, Fla., on Thursday afternoon.
During Thursday's session, which was run by a boisterous head coach Peter DeBoer
, Stephen Gionta
was centering the fourth line between Ryan Carter
and Steve Bernier
. According to Parise, Thursday's practice was as intense a session as DeBoer has managed this week.
"I would say that was the most [intense]," Parise told NHL.com. "He's been talking for a while now about really taking care of details and not letting anyone off the hook. I think [Thursday] was a good example of that, and I thought our intensity out there was good."
DeBoer not only was directing his team, but passing pucks to players in order to spring drills throughout the session.
"Let's see someone get to the net here!" the coach barked at one point.
"I think we pushed for game speed out there and that's what we're looking for … the guys responded well," DeBoer told the media after practice. "It's been a long week waiting around and I don't know if there's an exact formula for making sure you're ready to go at top speed when the puck drops, but I think we managed it the best we could and the guys look ready."
Defenseman Adam Larsson
was the ice and will travel with the team to Florida, but will not play in Game 1. Larsson was a healthy scratch for five straight games before earning 12:39 of ice time on 17 shifts in New Jersey's victory over Ottawa in the season finale on April 7.
The line combinations during Thursday's practice included:
- Travis Zajac
- Ilya Kovalchuk
- Patrik Elias
- Dainius Zubrus
- Adam Henrique
- David Clarkson
- Stephen Gionta
- Steve Bernier
Extras: Eric Boulton
, Cam Janssen
- Mark Fayne
- Marek Zidlicky
- Peter Harrold
Extra: Adam Larsson