Since the start of this season there have been no real consistent lines (outside of the attempt to keep the CBGB line together for the most part). Obviously Deboer is looking to see what works and what doesn't and has been attempting to find that "lightning in a bottle" type line if at all possible. Injuries have also played a part in this. In my view I would like to see the following lines attempted and kept for a full game at least:
Kovalchuk Loktionov Henrique
Elias Zajac Clarkson
Ponikarovsky Josefson Matteau
Bernier Carter Gionta
I liked what I saw of the chemistry on that top line when they started the game against Winnipeg. People keep saying that Loktionov forces passes to Kovalchuk but I think that tendency can be controlled. Henrique has benefited from some of Loktionov's passes as well and all three have a scoring knack with a good amount of speed.
The second line I think is rather a no-brainer although in some ways I think it's a symptom of my own insanity. It's a combination that has been failing miserably to generate anything for weeks and yet it seems the only place for all three of those players.
This third line I think could be trained into a legitimate shutdown line akin to the old Bobby Carpenter lines of yore. I know that the shutdown line thing is something we've tried to shy away from in recent years, but I think that it's one of the issues we've been having. Never before can I remember the Devils being victimized by other teams' top scorers as consistently as we have been of late. In years past it was always opposing teams' secondary scorers who would have success against us while we would stymie the top liners. How often would guys like Jagr come up short while guys like Alexei Morozov would give us nightmares. I'd rather worry about the Morozovs of the world than the Jagrs. Have this line trained to shadow and disrupt while the rest of the team runs it's usual game plan. Then we might be able to breathe a little easier when a guy like Tavares steps on the ice or Ovechkin.
The benefit of the above is that it bumps this fourth line down to where it belongs: fourth line. It's a good line. Keep it together. Don't play it more than any of the other lines and don't start the game with it on the ice.