Devils’ Notes: Langenbrunner Likes New Powerplay Role; Clarkson To The Second Line?

Here are some notes from today’s practice:

After returning from the Olympic break, Devils coach Jacques Lemaire decided to move captain Jamie Langenbrunner to the front of the net during the powerplay, where Ron Wilson used the captain.

The new position worked last night, as Langenbrunner’s screen led to a Paul Martin powerplay goal. Even during the Olympics, Langenbrunner’s presence in front of the net helped lead to offensive chances, including Zach Parise’s game-tying goal in the gold medal game.

The change doesn’t entirely effect Langenbrunner, who said “it doesn’t matter” to him whether he plays the point or in front during the powerplay.

“It’s a change for me from where I was playing before, but if it helps then I’m all for it,” he said to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record.

Before the change, Langenbrunner manned the point on the man advantage. During 5-on-3 opportunities, he’d sometimes come down and play in front of the net. But it seems Lemaire will continue to use Langenbrunner in front of the net.

The Devils spent nearly 2/3 of their practice on the powerplay despite scoring three goals with the man advantage last night. Many of the players believe the practice will help to reinforce the success they had on the powerplay.

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After practicing the powerplay, the team resumed 5-on-5 practice. There were a few changes to the line, but the biggest came with David Clarkson moving to the second line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac.

Brian Rolston manned the right wing last night, but recorded no shots on goal and was virtually invisible in the team’s victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Clarkson, who has spent most of his time on the third line, has nine goals and 11 assists in 36 games.

Clarkson, however, didn’t read too much into today’s practice.

“It would be exciting,” he said to Gulitti. “Wherever they feel I can help, I’ll be I’m sure, but I don’t think that was anything more than being there on the power play.”

I think Clarkson could do better on the third line than Rolston. Mostly anybody on this roster will fit in better than Rolston. We’ll see if this line combination holds up tomorrow night.

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