NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, January 23rd (All times eastern)
Florida Panthers (21-20-5) at New Jersey Devils (15-29-3), 3 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils have been on a roll the past two weeks, with a loss to the Florida Panthers the only blemish over their last six games.
The Devils hope to avenge that defeat and stretch their season-best win streak to four straight games this afternoon as they host the Panthers at the Prudential Center.
Though still last in the Eastern Conference with 33 points -- 22 out of a playoff spot -- the Devils are 5-0-1 over their last six games and have won three straight for the first time this season. They knocked off the conference's top team on Saturday, posting a 3-1 victory in Philadelphia.
Patrik Elias scored twice, Henrik Tallinder also had a goal and Johan Hedberg made 26 saves for the Devils, who also own wins over the Lightning, Islanders and Penguins during their run.
"Every game we play now it feels as though we're taking steps in the right direction and the record shows it, with five wins out of our last six," Hedberg said. "We have to keep plugging away, but we are certainly playing better."
New Jersey defenseman Colin White left Saturday's game with a lower-body injury.
The Devils will turn back to veteran Martin Brodeur today as they go for their longest winning streak since a five-game run from Dec. 12-21, 2009. Brodeur is 8-2-0 over his last 10 starts at home versus the Panthers with three shutouts and a 1.60 goals-against average, but took the loss in Florida on Jan. 15, yielding Dmitry Kulikov's game-winning goal 3:36 into overtime.
That victory was Florida's second straight and third in four games versus the Devils, but the club has lost nine of its last 11 in New Jersey.
The Panthers hit the road after a 3-0-3 homestand. They won the first three contests of the residency before dropping a pair of shootouts around an overtime loss. Friday's meeting with the Lightning went to a shootout, but Florida came up empty on its three chances while Tampa Bay's Dominic Moore scored the only goal of the tiebreaker in the third round.
Moore's goal had to be reviewed to see if he put it on a rebound after Florida netminder Tomas Vokoun's initial stop. Vokoun ended with 20 saves.
"You got to tip your cap to their goaltender, he made some big saves. Our guy made some big saves. We had the better chances," said Florida head coach Peter DeBoer.
Cory Stillman scored just 50 seconds into the game for the Panthers, who went 0-for-7 on the power play and saw five games on their homestand go past regulation. They also played in their seventh straight one-goal contest, matching a club record set in 2001-02.
Kulikov missed the game due to a rib injury suffered on Wednesday night and may not play tonight either.
Florida, which is eight points back of a playoff spot, begins a season-long six-game road trip tonight and could go with former Devil Scott Clemmensen in net seeing as he is a perfect 3-0-0 with a 1.96 GAA versus his old club. He stopped 33 shots in last weekend's win.
Vokoun is 5-6-1 with a 2.40 GAA versus New Jersey.
01/23 10:30:05 ET