Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils sprays water from...

Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils sprays water from his mouth during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. (May 23, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

The Devils didn't practice Tuesday after winning Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, and they are not practicing Thursday after winning Game 5.

It is part of a pattern in which coach Peter DeBoer has carefully managed his players through the long NHL playoff slog with an eye on keeping them fresh for what he hopes is a four-round march to the Stanley Cup.

I asked him about his philosophy before Game 5, and he said this:

"There's no formula. It's just feel. I have great help in my assistant coaches - Adam Oates, Larry Robinson, Chris Terreri, Dave Barr. They all played a long time. I think they have a real good feel for our room, what's needed. I can rely on them a lot.

"You know, we have an older team, especially at some key positions. We've also got some young guys playing some key mineutes. We've got to manage that."

The Rangers practiced  Tuesday and are scheduled to do so Thursday.

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