Devils mixing up lines for Game 2?

May, 16, 2012
5/16/12
3:26
PM ET
NEW YORK -- It looks like New Jersey Devils stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise will be reunited for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.

The two have played on separate lines for most of the postseason after playing together for much of the regular season.

The two skated together along with center Travis Zajac at the team’s morning skate in Newark on Wednesday morning. The Devils trail in the series 1-0 after being shut out 3-0 in the series opener Monday.

“Obviously, we didn’t score a goal last game so on offense, shuffling guys around has been something we’ve done all year,” head coach Pete DeBoer told reporters Wednesday. “Definitely not married to those combinations and I’m not even sure we’re going to start with those combinations. It’s just we decided to skate this morning."

The danger with loading up that line is that it represents 14 of the Devils’ 36 postseason goals and the pressure for the revamped second and third lines to produce will be significant.

It also seemed that rookie defenseman Adam Larsson might come out of the lineup and versatile defenseman Peter Harrold would draw back in. Harrold, who can also play the wing, has four assists in nine games. Larsson, the fourth overall pick in last June’s draft, has dressed for just five postseason games.

“I really liked how Larsson’s played since he’s gone back in. So if we do move Larsson out, it’s not a reflection on how he played, it’s just getting a different type element in there,” DeBoer said.

Crease clampdown


It’s not unusual for NHL starting netminders to avoid talking to the media on game days. But until recently the two netminders in the Eastern Conference finals, Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist, were throwbacks to an earlier time when netminders, like most players, spoke regardless of whether it was a game day or not.

But during the first round of the playoffs, Brodeur changed his long-standing habit of meeting with the media after the morning skate, saying he was being asked too many negative questions. He told reporters Tuesday he thinks the decision has been beneficial.

“Yes, I think it has been. You know, in the past I think there was negative stuff talked to me in the morning. And I felt early on in the series against Florida, everything I talked about was defending my team, not winning two games in a row, [not] winning a series since 2007, and on game days I don't need to have that [aggravation] in my head,” Brodeur said.

“And it was all because of these types of questions that were asked to me that I figure, you know what, going to let it be for a time being in morning skates. It's been working out good. I've been a lot more positive and not had bad thoughts in my mind."

Lundqvist, on the other hand, said Wednesday morning he’s always spoken on game days and in fact recalled playing in Sweden when he would sometimes give in-game interviews.

The Rangers netminder said the team isn’t worried about following the pattern of the first two series when they won the opening game against Ottawa and Washington but fell back by losing Game 2 in both cases.

“Different teams. I don’t really think about the first two rounds now. We look at this game as a great opportunity for us to keep going. We did so many good things in the first game and I think the best part about that game is we got better,” Lundqvist said. “In the third period, I think we played our best hockey. That’s good for your confidence, too."

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