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Devils playing for pride, jobs in final three games

by Mike G. Morreale /

NEWARK, N.J. -- The disappointment of being on the outside looking in on the Stanley Cup Playoff chase is beginning to hit home for the New Jersey Devils.

Now it's all about playing for pride and, perhaps, job security. The Devils have three games remaining in the regular season, including the first of two straight home games beginning Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens at Prudential Center.

The Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins visit Thursday before the Devils travel to Manhattan in their season finale on Saturday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"It's hard to understand what happened, and not to be able to play for something in the regular season is hard, but it is what it is for us right now and we'll have to make the best of the last three games and stay focused and finish on a good note," Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said.

The Devils were mathematically eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in three seasons on Sunday following a 4-1 loss to the Rangers at MSG.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer expects his team to play with pride and battle hard to the end.

"That's what this group is about and what this organization is about, and I don't think there's any other alternative for us other than to play as hard as we have been and hopefully get some results and end on a good note," DeBoer said.

The Devils have outshot their opponent in 24 of the past 26 games, but have won seven times over that stretch.

In two lineup moves for Tuesday, Adam Henrique will be replaced by Jacob Josefson, and defenseman Alexander Urbom will make his season debut, replacing Henrik Tallinder.

"[Henrique] needs to take a step back for a night and just watch watch; his confidence isn't where it needs to be, so that's the solution I've come up with," DeBoer said.

Brodeur will make his 16th straight start. Johan Hedberg is scheduled to make his first start in goal for the Devils since March 19 on Thursday against the Penguins. For the season, Hedberg is 5-9-3 with a 2.73 goals-against average and .886 save percentage in 17 appearances.

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters Monday that Devils captain Bryce Salvador would not play in any of the remaining three regular-season games to allow his bruised right wrist/thumb time to heal. Salvador was struck where the thumb meets the wrist with a slap shot from Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara on April 10 and has not played since.

Here is how the Devils might line up against the Canadiens on Tuesday:

Patrik Elias - Travis Zajac - David Clarkson

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Andrei Loktionov - Ilya Kovalchuk

Dainius Zubrus - Jacob Josefson - Steve Sullivan

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Anton Volchenkov - Marek Zidlicky

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

Alexander Urbom - Peter Harrold

Martin Brodeur

Johan Hedberg

Scratched: Adam Henrique, Krystofer Barch, Tom Kostopoulos, Mark Fayne, Henrik Tallinder

Injured: Bryce Salvador (thumb/wrist)

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