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NJD Notes 12.16: Lemaire stays the course

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Jacques Lemaire had no changes to report Wednesday morning, and will stick with the same lineup he has used for the past three games when his Devils host the Canadiens tonight.

"Same lineup," said the head coach. "The lineup that we have right now is probably the best success that we’ve been having with these guys. We were looking for, at a time, a better third line, which we have right now. We’re looking for a better fourth line, which we do right now. I think we’ll stay the same."

Lemaire's third line has featured Rob Niedermayer centering Jay Pandolfo and Jamie Langenbrunner. Dean McAmmond has centered the fourth line with Rod Pelley on the left and Ilkka Pikkarainen on the right. Lemaire has used the same forward group since Pandolfo's return from injury on Dec. 5., a span of five contests.

Lemaire was asked Wednesday morning about facing Montreal, the team with which he won eight Stanley Cups as a player from 1967-68 to 1978-79.

"Well, it means what it means when you play Pittsburgh, Washington, Buffalo; you play good teams," he said. "It means that you’re playing against a good team and you want to beat them. That’s the one thing. Because it’s Montreal, I don’t think there’s a lot different. Maybe, because it’s been so long and I went my way doing my things. I haven’t looked at their team and what they’re doing that much. Mainly, it’s the sweaters, because the players, I haven’t seen one. I don’t know one of them – they’re all gone."

The Canadiens held a ceremony on Dec. 4 to honor their 100th anniversary, but Lemaire said he's mostly out of touch with his teammates from the club's dynasty years. He still sees plenty of former teammate Mario Tremblay, a Devils assistant coach, and Hall of Fame defenseman Larry Robinson, who serves as a Devils special assignment coach.

"I’ve been away (from Montreal) for quite a while and the only players that I call or talk to once in a while are the guys that are close here," Lemaire said. "Mario – I see him every day – and Larry Robinson, when he was here at camp. Sometimes he comes and visits, but that’s pretty much it. The other guys, we went our ways and that’s it."

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