The New Jersey Devils have scored three goals against goalie Henrik Lundqvist in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, but have attempted more shots than the New York Rangers in each of the three games. They're creating chances. Finishing them is another story.
Devils winger Petr Sykora has 34 playoff goals in 130 games, including two in the 2012 playoffs. He's gone scoreless in his last four games, and won't be in the lineup for Monday night's Game 4 against the Rangers — losing his spot to Jacob Josefson, who had two goals in 41 games during an injury-plagued season.
Coach Pete DeBoer said he told Josefson to "bring us some energy, play like you did the last three, four weeks of the season." That's when his ice time hovered around 15 minutes per game, before breaking his left wrist in April 3.
"He's had a tough year between the injuries and the adversity, really over the last two years," said DeBoer. "And I really felt the last two, three weeks of the season he had re-found his game and his confidence. And if we can get a version of that player in the lineup tonight, we'll be a better team."
DeBoer said after Game 3 that the Devils wouldn't over-analyze the loss, getting humbled by the King for the second time in the series. Is dropping a veteran mainstay for a second-year forward making his playoff debut in the Eastern Conference Final a sign of alarm?
"What pushed me in this direction is just the availability of another very good player in Josefson. He hadn't been available up until this point. So he's available. You throw him in the mix, and, yeah, it's tough decisions when you're sitting out Sykora who has played well for us this year and scored some goals," said DeBoer. "But those are the decisions we have to make."
Josefson had one assist and was even plus/minus in seven career games against the Rangers. Overall, he only played an average of 9 seconds per game on the power play during the regular season, while Sykora averaged 1:58.
Meanwhile, while Brandon Dubinsky skated for the Rangers, Coach John Tortorella said there was "no update" on personnel for Game 4.
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