Lemaire touts success of 6-on-5 offense

NEWARK, N.J. — Jacques Lemaire’s radical new 6-on-5 approach to offense is paying dividends early and the New Jersey Devils coach says it won’t be long before other teams begin mimicking his strategy, much like the neutral zone trap in the 1990s.

“I’m amazed no one thought of it earlier,” Lemaire said ahead of Monday night’s game with the Philadelphia Flyers. “Six skaters on the ice at a time. It’s so simple and effective. It’s overpowering.”

The Devils will be vying to tie a league record 10th straight road win to start the season Monday and are riding an 8-game winning streak overall, which Lemaire largely attributes to having more players on the ice than his opposition at any given time.

Lemaire acknowledged that there have been some growing pains to playing the unorthodox style of hockey. The Devils have taken a league leading 647 too many men on the ice bench minors just 18 games into the season.

“Yea, the refs, they don’t really know what to do with it. They’ll come around though,” Lemaire said. “That’s what happens with every new idea though. Soon everyone will be doing it. If that happens, I might have to start throwing another goalie out there. Maybe send Arlette out to sing during penalty kills. There’s a lot of options with this.”

Devils leading scorer Zach Parise said it was tough to get used to a new system and a new coach, but believes the players have really bought into the system.

“It was weird at first,” Parise said. “At first, if you were the extra guy, Jacques would have you kind of hang back near the bench and act like you were talking to [Devils backup goaltender Yann] Danis, you know like you didn’t even realize you were on the ice. Then when the refs weren’t looking we’d just act like we’d been there the whole time.”

The Devils will skate without Patrick Elias on Monday, who is still nursing a bottle over the fact that Martin Brodeur didn’t invite him on his private jet to Lou Lamoriello’s Hall of Fame Induction. Additonally, center Travis Zajac will miss at least six months after farting without leaning and tearing both his MCL and ACLs, further compounding the team’s injury woes.

The team also put out a press release Sunday stating that the ban on Patricia Greuter, who has been repeatedly caught attempting to swap Martin Broduer’s MB30 mask for his old one, remains in effect and have asked Devils fans who see her near any games to report her whereabouts immediately.

Editor’s note: On the off chance anyone took this seriously..don’t. It’s fake. Get a sense of humor.

Devils Versus Docile Bears

Tonight’s a big’un.  The Boston Bruins, they of the best record in all the land, make their way to Newark this eve to take on the Devils, they of the nine-wins-in-eleven-games hot streak.  One of those wins came against this very same Bruins team (in Boston, no less).

For the Devils, expect to see Mike Rupp back in the lineup after sitting out Wednesday’s victory over the Isles.  The Devils say it was a sinus issue, I say it was a bruised ego after getting knocked silly by Colton Orr in a fight Monday night.  Either way, I expect Rupp will be looking for blood, preferably not his own.

Rupp’s return means that Jay Pandolfo sits in the press box again tonight.  Super Jay wasn’t bad in Wednesday’s tilt, but “not bad” doesn’t seem good enough.  Poor Super Jay.

Scott Clemmensen gets the nod in net after sitting Wednesday in favor of Kevin Weekes.  But this is not all that shocking.

On the opposite side of the rink, the Bruins are coming off a 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks in Tuesday night’s much-balleyhoo’d face-off of conference leaders – the Bruins first loss all season by more than two goals.  The Bruins are also the NHL’s best road team, having lost only five times in regulation away from TD Banknorth Garden.  This one ain’t gonna be easy, folks.

Scott’s at tonight’s game, so I’m sure you’ll see one of his Thoughts from Section 209’s later tonight or early tomorrow.  I’ll hopefully be catching at least some of tonight’s game and may have something up as well.

Before I go, however, I’d like to extend my sincerest condolences on behalf of all of us at 2MA to the friends and families of those killed in the Continental Airlines Flight 3407, which crashed in Buffalo.  The flight originated at Newark Airport and it seems like a good number of NJ residents were aboard the plane.  Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this tragic event.

Devils @ Thrashers Notes

I couldn’t bring myself to LiveCap tonight’s affair and now I feel kind of bad about it.  In short, we’ve got a 5-1 Devils lead with ten minutes left to play in the second period.  The Devils have chased Lehtonen and now Hedberg’s in net for Atlanta.

Devils goals:  Zajac, Madden (shorty!), Clarkson, Parise, and Gionta (shorty by the shorty!)

That’s right, TWO shorthanded goals.  I’ll post a bit more if interesting things continue to happen.  Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments, I’ll be around to approve ’em most likely.

Edit: So the game settled down immensely after my half-way-through post, and the Devils took the victory by a score of 5-1.  Awesome.

Also awesome tonight?  This.  This was very awesome.

The only downside is that, well, I would imagine the Rangers will be awakened by Monday night’s game at The Rock.  In the meantime, however, it’s fun to just point and laugh.  HA-HA!