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Tortorella takes shots at Devils, defends Prust
“I don’t know what I’m going to do with the lineup,” Tortorella said. “I don’t think he should be suspended, so I really haven’t gone that far.”
Whether Tortorella’s comments were fueled by anger or gamesmanship, the fiery coach wasn’t about to sit back and have one of his players attacked at this critical juncture of the playoffs.
“We pride ourselves on playing hard between the whistles,” Staal said. “We don’t have guys on our team that dive and try to embellish.”
New York is looking to grab its first two-game lead in the playoffs. The Rangers were forced to seven games in the first two rounds by Ottawa and Washington, and would like to bring a 3-1 edge home to Madison Square Garden for Game 5 on Wednesday night.
The Devils could have a few new looks on Monday night, too. New Jersey is on the verge of getting forward Jacob Josefson into the lineup for the first time in the playoffs. Josefson, who practiced on a line with Alexei Ponikarovsky and David Clarkson on Sunday, has been out since he broke his left wrist on April 3.
“Coach told me I’m playing, and I’m very ready to go,” Josefson said. “It feels great. My body feels great. It may be a little tough stepping in, but I’m a little more excited than anything. I’ve been getting better every day and I felt I could play in this series. It’s just a matter of when. I just hope I do well.”
Josefson’s return will likely force out struggling veteran Petr Sykora, who practiced with the extra players on Sunday.
“He finished the season very strong,” DeBoer said of Josefson. “The last three, four weeks of the season he was great. 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.”
“I was everywhere today,” Kovalchuk said.
Zubrus took Kovalchuk’s place at right wing alongside Parise and Travis Zajac. Kovalchuk, who has played right wing since Nov. 2 against Toronto, went back to left wing on a line with Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias.
“We got shut out and we’re trying to generate some offense,” DeBoer said. “It’s been a general procedure for us to move some people around. The easy thing would be to stick with what we had, but we decided to shuffle some things around and hopefully we’ll get results from it. Zubrus with Parise and Kovalchuk, they’ve had some chemistry in the past, prior to me even getting here. I hope that can translate to some chances.”
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
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