Devils GM gives coach vote of confidence

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello says he has faith that John MacLean can guide the team out of its early season slump, and that “it’s ridiculous” to suggest the rookie head coach might be fired.

Instead, Lamoriello called upon the Devils’ “top players” to raise their games after Wednesday’s 5-2 loss in San Jose left the team at 2-7-1 – its worst record through 10 games since it opened 1983-84 at 1-9-0.

“You’re not going to win unless your best players – and this is not targeting any one or two – but your top players have to be your top players, at least 80 percent of them, night in and night out,” Lamoriello said Thursday before flying to Anaheim to join the team for tonight’s game against the Ducks. “And that’s what we have to get.”

Many expected the Devils to be a high-scoring team with Ilya Kovalchuk, Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, Jason Arnott and Travis Zajac up front, but they have scored a league-low 17 goals. They’ve also struggled defensively, having given up 35 total goals, which was tied with Anaheim for most in the NHL entering tonight’s game. They’ve been outscored 14-4 in losing their last three games.

Injuries have forced the Devils to play three rookie defensemen — Matt Taormina, Olivier Magnan-Grenier and Matt Corrente — and now they’ve lost Corrente for a period yet to be determined because of a fractured left hand. Corrente was injured in a second-period fight with San Jose’s Ryane Clowe. Corrente flew back to New Jersey on Thursday to be examined by team doctors to determine if he will require surgery to insert a pin in his hand.

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