Sunday, May 20, 2012

Devils shuffle deck: Josefson in, Sykora out

Look for changes tomorrow when the Eastern Conference Final resumes. Unsatisfied with his team's lack of production during yesterday's 3-0 loss in Game Three, Devil coach Pete DeBoer has changed his lines. With the Devils facing the prospect of falling behind 3-1 to the Rangers, they'll sport a new lineup Monday at The Rock.

That'll include the addition of Jacob Josefson, who will make his playoff debut after missing the first two rounds due to a broken wrist. The bigger news is who Josefson will replace in grizzled vet Petr Sykora. The 35-year old former '00 Cup winner will sit out for the first time all season. A surprising move but perhaps one that can spark New Jersey. The second-year Devil takes Sykora's spot on the third line. It'll be interesting to see what he brings.

For Sykora, he has been held without a point thus far in the Battle Of Hudson. However, he's not the only one struggling. Buddy Patrik Elias has also failed to get untracked. Part of DeBoer's new lines will be Elias moving up to the second line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Adam Henrique. Kovalchuk, who has just a power play goal in the series, will return to his more familiar left wing with Elias and Henrique. Meanwhile, Dainius Zubrus has been elevated to the top line with Travis Zajac and Zach Parise, who also doesn't have a goal.

On paper, it looks good. Zubrus can provide size and strength while Henrique is skilled enough to get Elias and Kovalchuk going. Josefson will center Alexei Ponikarovsky and David Clarkson. The only line that remains intact is the fourth line of Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier, which ironically has been the Devils' most effective at even strength- helping turn around Game Two.

Devil Changes

Zubrus-Zajac-Parise
Kovalchuk-Henrique-Elias
Ponikarovsky-Josefson-Clarkson
Carter-Gionta-Bernier

1 comment:

Hasan said...

Sykie really hasn't done much lately, even going back to the end of the regular season. Much as I like the guy, if he's not scoring he really doesn't add anything else, and he hasn't been scoring so it's the right move.

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