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DeBoer mixes up lines, expects to have Josefson back

by Dan Rosen
NEWARK, N.J. -- After getting shut out in Game 3, the Devils changed up their top three lines at practice Sunday complete with a new addition to the lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday.

The Rangers lead the series 2-1 after winning 3-0 on Sunday. The Devils had 36 shots on goal, but couldn't solve Henrik Lundqvist.

"It's been fairly common practice for us to move people around when we haven't had success scoring goals," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "It's a little different situation. I thought we generated a lot of quality chances (in Game 3). The easy thing would be to stick with it, hope you come out next game do the same thing and score. But, we've decided to shuffle some things around and I think we'll get some results from that."

Jacob Josefson, who hasn't played since fracturing his left wrist against the Islanders on April 3, said he will play Monday. Petr Sykora is expected to come out of the lineup to make room for Josefson, who will likely center the Devils third line between Alexei Ponikarovsky and David Clarkson.

"He's been an effective guy for us and we missed him while he was out," DeBoer said of Josefson.

Adam Henrique should move up to center the second line between Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias. Kovalchuk was playing with Zach Parise and Travis Zajac and Elias was in the middle between Dainius Zubrus and Sykora.

However, Elias will likely move to the left wing and Kovalchuk, although it appeared he was playing on the left side in practice Sunday, expects to stay on the right wing, where he has played for virtually the entire season.

DeBoer admitted moving Elias to the wing could take some of the pressure off of him. He has zero points in the last five games and just five points in 15 playoff games.

"It takes some of the responsibility off him to work low in our end and to create offense at the other end," DeBoer said. "Hopefully that translates to some offense."

The top line now has Zajac in between Parise and Zubrus. That has been a line for the Devils in the past, before DeBoer even got to New Jersey.

"Two seasons ago we played with Zubie a little bit, me and Zach, but I don't think we have to read into it too much," Zajac said. "I don't think at this time it matters who you are playing with. We have been playing well and if we do the right things we are going to be successful, get our chances."

The only line that stayed the same was the fourth line of Stephen Gionta between Steve Bernier and Ryan Carter.

Here is an easy rundown of the Devils expected lineup for Game 4 with lines, defense pairings and goaltenders:

Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Dainius Zubrus
Patrik Elias - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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