Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Goal-Oriented Following Loss, Devils' Coach Makes Changes to His Forward Lines

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Goal-Oriented Following Loss, Devils' Coach Makes Changes to His Forward Lines

Article excerpt

NEWARK, N.J. --

Zach Parise, the Devils' first-year captain, found a seat at his locker after a 45-minute practice Sunday and answered questions, still wearing his pads, until well after his teammates cleared the dressing room. What a difference 21 hours had made.

Parise did not grant interviews Saturday afternoon after the Devils lost to the Rangers, 3-0, to fall behind in the Eastern Conference finals, two games to one. As he walked through the locker room twice, Parise was tight-lipped and clearly frustrated with the result, if not his play.

"I probably would have said some things I'd regretted," Parise said Sunday.

Sunday was a new day, and Devils coach Peter DeBoer had decided to adjust his forward lines in the hope that the Devils would score more goals against the Rangers' stingy defense and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who has shut them out in two of three games.

Dainius Zubrus replaced Ilya Kovalchuk, a $100 million forward, on the line that includes Parise and Travis Zajac. Kovalchuk skated on a line centered by the rookie Adam Henrique and included Patrik Elias. Elias has been a center during the playoffs.

"I think we can help each other make a lot of chances and hang in there," Kovalchuk said of his new assignment.

DeBoer left his fourth line alone, but he replaced Henrique on the third line with Jacob Josefson, the 21-year-old center who had a plus-10 rating before he broke his left wrist April 3. David Clarkson and Alexei Ponikarovsky are his wings, and the veteran Petr Sykora appears to be out.

Josefson, who will make his playoff debut when the Devils host the Rangers in Game 4 of the series tonight, rejoined the team late last week for practice. Josefson cheerfully said he was ready to play, both physically and mentally.

"The last three, four weeks of the season he was great," DeBoer said. "Fresh legs this time of year -- you're 15 games into a playoff run -- can never hurt. He's been an effective guy for us, and we missed him while he was out. …

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