The New Jersey Devils are expected to make their first lineup change of the Stanley Cup Finals in Game 4, with veteran winger Petr Sykora taking the place of rookie Jacob Josefson, who has one assist in six games in these playoffs. Sykora has two goals and two assists in 15 games in this postseason, and has been a healthy scratch in the previous six games. The Devils are expected to go with a second line of center Patrik Elias and wingers Sykora and Dainius Zubrus, and keep intact the first line of center Travis Zajac and wingers Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk.
Devils coach Peter DeBoer wouldn’t confirm the change to reporters today, but according to The Star-Ledger newspaper, Sykora told reporters that he would play in Game 4.
DEBOER: “He’s an option for us. We’re going to consider him. We haven’t scored. He’s a guy that doesn’t need a lot of looks to stick one in the net. That’s what he does best. So he’s definitely an option.’’
Sykora, 35, will bring a veteran presence. He has played 1,017 regular-season NHL games, plus 130 playoff games, and has won the Stanley Cup twice (2000 with New Jersey and 2009 with Pittsburgh). The Devils held practice today in El Segundo, and afterward DeBoer was asked about the Devils’ level of “desperation.’’
DEBOER: “You know, your desperation level is high. You’re in the Stanley Cup Final. I don’t think there’s a way of heightening the desperation level. We’re down 3-0. I don’t think we feel we deserve to be in the hole we’re in. I think we played better than the situation indicates. But that’s hockey. We have to persevere here and stick with it and find a solution.’’