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Torts: Gaborik "needs to lead" & thoughts on Devs, Anisimov, Del Zotto



                  Marian Gaborik scored twice against the Islanders, but coach John Tortorella said playing against the Devils will be different:  

                  "He had a lot of open ice last night, just the way the game was played. It’s going to be a game of patience through the neutral zone. Is there going to be a lot of open ice? No, but he has to keep his legs moving, that’s the key, he has to try to beat people, he can beat people and other things will open up off of that."

               " Hopefully, he skates right away as the game starts tonight. It helps everybody. We don’t want to heap it all on him, but he is our top player offensively and a pretty good player defensively. He needs to lead, especially at this time of year. He understands, he’s not a kid, he is a good pro, but we felt we needed to push him along here mentally, through the Olympics and understand the gravity of where we are as a hockey club. You nudge him, but he’s low maintenance…That’s the lay of the land: your top players have to be your top players, so the biggest thing for us was to get him mentally through the Olympics, that he was not going to hurt himself, to get him to play through the soreness, he’s been really good with that. It’s been a little bit of a change from the way he was handled in Minnesota, we’ve tried to keep him on the ice. It's like, 'Yeah he’s sore, so is Cally, so is Dru, so get on the ice and skate the soreness out.' "


                The Devils will present "more close checking and more things to fight through", Tortorella said.   


                       Brian Boyle "is day-to-day, a nagging thing," said Tortorella, and will miss his second stright game. IMO, it might be a back issue, which he has spoken to me about in the past, a tightening that happens every season and improves with rest.  


                 In Boyle's place, Artem Anisimov will center the fourth line with Jody Shelley and Brandon Prust.



                "I thought Artie felt more comfortable in that position. We’ve talked about it. When we put him in a role, when I had him with Cally and Dru at times, he readily admitted that it’s a different game when you’re against top players. Although he did a pretty good job checking, (against lines like Mike Richards' trio in Philly) it’s just too tough for him. I thought he felt more comfortable playing with a couple rugged guys. They’ll be together tonight."


              Anisimov agreed that he felt "the pressure playiong against top lines...I'm a young guy, I was a little nervous and now it's a little more comfortable without the pressure. But I try to play my best with everyone and help the team win."




               Anisimov scored last night and Michael Del Zotto has his second in two games. "It’s going to make him a better passer if he shoots the puck. It’s going to open up more opportunities (although) last night, in certain situations he was almost too aggressive  up the ice. We certainly don’t want to discourage him but in certain situations he was playing shinny hockey. He threw a five foot saucer pass to no one. But I love it about him because he’s willing to take a chance and then you corral him in ebbs and flows of games. He likes to make plays, but I don’t think he has confidence in his shot."  



               As for another defenseman, Michal Rozsival, Torts said he noticed more consistency "as far as the level of compete....I think he’s really worked at consistency in his level of play for the most part this year. For a person that people kicked the snot out of, and I have too, early on, his compete level has been raised this year and most important, it’s been more consistent, and that’s why he’s getting the minutes and on the power play now. We always want more, especially with the D that we have."  





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