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BLOG: Hayden, Rooney Creating Chemistry

John Hayden and Kevin Rooney are working well together since being given the opportunity to play more minutes

by Marc Ciampa / NewJerseyDevils.com

Since the all-star break, two players who have really stepped up as part of the Devils six-game streak without a loss in regulation are Kevin Rooney and John Hayden. 

Devils interim head coach Alain Nasreddine talked about their ability to play together as a duo on the fourth line. 

"They play to their identity," Nasreddine said. "They know their role. Rooney has good speed, reliable defensively. Hayden brings that physical element you want on the fourth line and they keep their games simple."

In the six-game stretch, Rooney is also finding some offensive paydirt. He is tied for fifth on the team with four points (two goals, two assists) and tied for second on the club with a +4 rating. He has a shorthanded goal and two shorthanded points. 

Video: DEVILS NOW | Rooney and Hayden: Valuable Soldiers

"We're both a lot more confident right now. We had stretches where we played well for a lot of games and have started to put together a string of games," said Rooney. "There's certain spots on the ice that we use to help us find each other. We've gotten more comfortable playing with each other and in that role. It's certainly not an easy role to be in.

"Every day we're out there early and staying on late to try and get better."

Hayden agreed with his linemate. 

"Its nice having an identity. We know what we want to do out there and approach every game the same. That chemistry has paid off," he noted. "The nice thing is it started in the preseason. We played together. As the year's gone on, we built that chemistry."

Hayden has a goal and also leads the team with nine penalty minutes. 

"They bring a sense of pace, how they play, and physicality. They make it tough on whatever line they're playing," Devils captain Andy Greene said. "They play hard, they play a north-south game."

Hayden added that the pair are also very close off the ice. 

"We spend a lot of time together off the ice. Dinners on the road."

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