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Devils' Lemaire: 'We were due'

Wednesday, 12.02.2009 / 11:12 PM / NHL Insider

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Jacques Lemaire looked as though he didn't want to say it, but, yes, the New Jersey Devils veteran coach did see a stinker coming even though his team came into Wednesday's game against Vancouver winners of three straight while giving up three goals in the process.

"Did I see it coming? Well, it's always easy after," Lemaire said following the Devils' 5-2 loss to the Canucks at Prudential Center. "Every little doubt that you have, you can say, 'OK, it's that,' because you have a result.

"Let's try to say yes, we were due for a bad one."

Save for a strong push to get back in the game late in the first period, the Devils didn't offer much resistance to the visiting Canucks, who scored three times within the first 12 and a half minutes of the game and never looked back.

The Devils scored twice at the end of the first and played even in the second, but gave up two goals directly off turnovers within the first 5:18 of the third period to seal their fate.

They practice Thursday in preparation for Friday's home game against Tampa Bay.

"We weren't very good in the third and we weren't very good in the first," Devils defenseman Andy Greene said. "When you play one good period of hockey, those are the kind of results you're going to get."

As politely as he could, Lemaire ripped his team for the amount of mistakes it made leading to all five Vancouver goals and also his top players for not coming to play.

"It's just one night that nothing was working and our guys didn't have the legs that they had in other games," Lemaire said. "If you look at our top players, they had been responsible for pretty much every win we got since the start of the season, but (Wednesday) our top players were not as good."

Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who made 21 saves and had three shots go in off deflections, including two off his own guys, said Lemaire warned the Devils to be aware of how hard the Canucks work, how hard they go to the net and of some of the skill they have, especially on the top line with the Sedin twins and Alex Burrows.

"Our coach told us about them and exactly what he told us is what happened to us," Brodeur said.

Lemaire, though, blamed his team solely.

"The opposition, to me, they just walked through a win," he said. "They very easily walked right through it."

As a result, Lemaire said he plans to work his team hard in Thursday's practice because, well, they need it.

"We've been going easy, thinking they were tired," Lemaire said. "With Christmas coming up and everyone's mind going every which way, we'll try to get their minds back in the game."

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