After a playoff lost, adjustments need to be made. New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer did just that, shifting his line combinations and sitting rookie defenseman Adam Larsson for tonight's Eastern Conference Finals Game 2 matchup with the New York Rangers.
DeBoer shifted captain Zach Parise back to the top line with Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk. Patrik Elias dropped to the second line, where he'll skate with Petr Sykora and Dainius Zubrus. Alexei Ponikarovsky, who skated with both Zajac and Kovalchuk in Game 1, will shift to the team's third line. He's paired with Adam Henrique and David Clarkson.
The only line to remain intact will be the fourth line of Stephen Gionta, Ryan Carter and Steve Bernier.
DeBoer also made a change on defense, sitting rookie Adam Larsson in favor of Peter Harrold. The veteran defenseman played in the team's first eight playoff games, but was a healthy scratch for the last five games.
Harrold, who practiced at the point during today's powerplay, is excited to get back in the lineup.
"Certainly, it's better than watching, that's for sure." the defenseman told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "I'm just hoping I can get pucks through and make a difference on the offensive end."
Elias didn't think changing the line combinations was a drastic move, but a necessary change in tactics.
"Sometimes you just try to find something to get going again and it's fine. You adjust," he told Gulitti. "We created some opportunities with the lines before, but not enough scoring. We just want to change it up. No one is really looking into it too much. It's normal. It happens throughout the regular season season and it's happened in the playoffs. You've got to adjust and just play. We're all familiar with each other, so it's no big deal."
The Devils currently trail the rival Rangers, 1-0, in the best of seven series.