NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, January 14th (All times eastern)
New Jersey Devils (32-11-1) at Phoenix Coyotes (26-16-5), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - There isn't much left for New Jersey Devils netminder Martin Brodeur to accomplish in the NHL, so he might just have to settle with leading his team to another Stanley Cup championship.
Brodeur could be in line for his 24th straight start as the Devils continue a four-game road trip tonight versus a struggling Phoenix Coyotes team that has lost four straight at Jobing.com Arena.
The 37-year-old Brodeur has helped backstop New Jersey to a 32-11-1 record this season, including an 18-5-0 mark over the club's last 23 games. That has the Devils atop the Eastern Conference with 65 points, three more than Washington, in addition to their six-point lead over Pittsburgh for first in the Atlantic Division.
Brodeur has posted four shutouts over his last 10 starts, including an incredible 1-0 shootout victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday in which the four-time Vezina Trophy winner made 51 saves and another four in the shootout.
"Both goaltenders had to be excellent to push the game to overtime, and even in overtime we both made saves," said Brodeur, who notched his sixth shutout of the season and 107th of his career to extend his NHL record. "It was a pretty entertaining game despite the lack of goal scoring."
Patrik Elias had the game's lone goal, a fourth-round shootout tally on the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist, who made 45 saves in regulation and overtime.
New Jersey has won four of its last five overall and three straight on the road, where it is 16-4-1 this season. The Devils could again turn to Brodeur tonight as they play the second contest of their swing.
Brodeur is 11-7-0 with a 2.20 goals-against average versus the Coyotes. He made 26 saves in a 5-2 home win over them last year, posting the 550th victory of his career. That left him one shy of Patrick Roy's all-time record, though Brodeur has since passed that mark and now owns 586 wins in his career.
That loss to New Jersey last season snapped Phoenix's three-game series winning streak, though the club has still won two of three and four of its last six at home versus the Devils.
The Coyotes had been one of the better home teams in the NHL this season, but have now lost four in a row at Jobing.com Arena (0-2-2) since winning a franchise-record 10 straight there.
Phoenix also lost its season-high third consecutive game overall on Tuesday, a 3-1 setback to Pacific Division-leading San Jose. The second-place Coyotes fell 10 points back of the Sharks with the loss and are fifth in the Western Conference with 57 points.
"We're a group that isn't in rhythm right now," Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said. "There are some mistakes that are going against us. Our margin for error is very slim on most nights,"
Radim Vrbata scored the lone goal for the Coyotes, who have also lost five of six overall and are 0-1-1 on a six-game homestand. Phoenix is 16-7-2 overall at home this season.
Jason LaBarbera turned aside 29-of-32 shots for Phoenix, which went 0-for-7 on the power play and is likely to turn back to Ilya Bryzgalov in net tonight.
Bryzgalov went 8-2-3 with a 1.82 GAA in December, but is 1-2-0 with a 4.27 GAA in four January starts. He has never before faced New Jersey.
Phoenix will be without Ed Jovanovski tonight, as the defenseman serves the second contest of his two-game suspension for an elbow to the head of Islanders rookie John Tavares on Saturday.
01/14 10:56:54 ET