Jacques Lemaire resisted stoking the coals of the Devils-Rangers rivalry this morning.
Lemaire was asked if, in his playing days with Montreal, he would've been a little extra fired up to bump the rival Bruins from the postseason chase. A Devils regulation win this afternoon at Madison Square Garden would accomplish that against their cross-river foes.
"I know in the old days, definitely, that if Boston, as an example, we could beat Boston to put them out, I would try to do my best, definitely," Lemaire said. "But it’s any team. We beat them it wouldn’t be the same."
The coach felt the season series with the Rangers was lacking this year. The Devils fell out of the race early, while the Rangers had ranked among the top eight since Oct. 30. They were bumped to ninth with Carolina's win on Friday.
The Hurricanes host Tampa Bay tonight and could clinch the final spot with a win.
"As a player, definitely when you do have a rivalry, you did in the past, we didn’t this year," Lemaire said. "Not like past years. Rivalry this year was not the same, because of the fact they were always in the playoffs. Us, we struggled, so you don’t look at being ahead of them."
Could this game revive the feud?
"I don’t think in one game, because you don’t play them anymore," he said. "Let’s say that you would beat them and then you go on and play another game against them, then you would get it back."
Lemaire wants to see how his group performs in what's essentially a must-win for the home team. The Devils host Boston in their season finale tomorrow at the Rock.
“See how they’ll come out today and tomorrow," he said. "Two games in the afternoon, last two games. You want to see who’s going to stick with it ‘til the end.”
- Mattias Tedenby
has enjoyed a strong finish to his rookie season. He's tallied a goal and an assist in the last two games, and has played well on the right side of a line with Brian Rolston and Patrik Elias
. Previously, he'd been at left wing with fellow rookie Jacob Josefson
and David Clarkson
"I don’t know if he could’ve achieved it with Josefson, who’s a young guy, a young center, and a checker as a winger on the other side," Lemaire said. "I don’t know if he could have achieved it. Now that he has the opportunity to play with Rolston and Patrik, it gives him a better chance to really do what he can do, improve his game, do certain things on the ice that he’s going to get help.
"He’s confident with them, he brings them life. He even seems better in his own end. That’s how it is. It’s strange, but he is playing better in his own end than he ever did. And not that I talked to him about it, it just came with probably playing with Rollie and Pat."