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Lemaire seeks better overall effort

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Parise had a goal and led all players with six shots on Friday.

Zach Parise highlights
Oct. 16 vs. Atlanta
The morning after, Jacques Lemaire was still disappointed about Friday’s 4-2 loss to Atlanta.

It snapped the Devils’ three-game winning streak and kept Jersey’s Team winless at home. Lemaire watched his team enter the third period tied, 1-1, only to have the Thrashers score three times in the final frame: once each at even strength, on the power play and on the penalty kill.

“There’s certain teams that you have to beat to help you to make the playoffs and do well,” Lemaire said, adding that his squad had had three days between games to prepare. “You feel that your team’s going to come out and play probably at its best, which you need to win the game, and they don’t. That’s why you’re disappointed. Frustration? Frustration because you see they’re not at their best and you’re talking to them about certain things they have to do. That night they just couldn’t do it, so you get frustrated.”

Lemaire said the team got together before Saturday's morning skate to review some video from the defeat.

“We had a meeting just to show some stuff that we could be better (at),” he said. “That’s about it.”

One of those things is the power play, which went 0-for-6 and allowed Chris Thorburn’s shorthanded goal that put the game away with 3:11 left in regulation. Lemaire shrugged off the suggestion that some players might be getting tight as a result of going 0-for-11 with the man advantage in the last two games.

“Get tight? I don’t see Travis (Zajac) getting tight; (Zach) Parise getting tight; Jamie (Langenbrunner) getting tight,” he said.

Zajac got the Devils on the board first in the second period, scoring his team-leading fourth of the season on a breakaway set up by Langenbrunner. Parise scored his second of the season to make it 3-2 with 6:50 left in regulation.

Lemaire said he expects to see more scoring chances from in front of the net.

“We’re playing a little bit on the outside, that’s one thing,” he said. “When there’s a good opportunity to make a good play, we’re not making the proper pass. Sometimes we don’t anticipate the play that is there for us. Sometimes we don’t go at the net, we move on the outside to get the puck to make another pass, instead of getting the pass and going to the net.”

Lemaire confirmed Saturday that Martin Brodeur would be making his seventh straight start. The coach explained that Yann Danis’ lack of playing time wasn’t ideal, but that the backup goalie would have to be ready whenever called upon.

“He’s got no choice,” Lemaire said. “You’ve got Marty that’s been in the League for 50 years and doing great, and you have another kid that is starting. I’m worried about Marty. When (Danis) will have a chance, he’ll play, and we’ll try to help him as much as possible so he can do well.”

• Just six games into the season, the Devils have taken three bench minors for too many men on the ice. Twice they resulted in goals, including Rich Peverley’s first of two power-play goals in Friday’s contest.

“The first two that we had, the guy jumped on when the guy was getting close to the bench,” Lemaire said. “He jumps on, the puck comes, and then they touch the puck. The one last night is the left defenseman comes across to take his position; comes across toward the bench. He’s about 25 feet away, and he makes no sign that he’s changing – nothing. Then the puck comes in, he keeps it and the other guy jumps on. To me, there’s a little time that the guy’s not in the game; that he’s thinking about something else, or whatever. He’s not looking at what’s going on, and then he decides ‘I’m next.’ And he jumps on.”

But Lemaire has seen even worse mix-ups on a line change. He told a story involving former Minnesota forward Wes Walz.

“The guys were playing, they were in the offensive zone, and I said ‘Wes, you’re next,’” Lemaire recounted. “He jumped on the ice and he went into the offensive zone – too many men on the ice.”

• The Devils were set to face Carolina for the first time since Game 7 of last year’s Eastern Conference quarterfinal, when the Hurricanes scored twice in the final 80 seconds to take the series with a 4-3 win.

David Clarkson said the team has moved on.

“We’ve put that behind us,” Clarkson said. “I don’t think you sit here and think about what happened last season and what they did. You forgive but you don’t forget. In the back of your mind, any time you play any team you’re going to go out and give it to them as much as you can. The way things happened last year was kind of shocking to all of us, and I think we’ve learned a lesson from it. We learned something from that team, and I think maybe it’s our turn to go out and start showing everybody in the League that coming into our building is going to be tough.”

• Tonight is Devils’ Hockey Fights Cancer Night, as the club hosts the Carolina Hurricanes. Members of the Devils’ Coaching Staff, as well as broadcasters will wear Hockey Fights Cancer ties.

Additionally, the Devils will welcome representatives of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

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