NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 24th (All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (39-16-6) at New Jersey Devils (35-20-4), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils will try to match their longest winning streak of the season when they host the Vancouver Canucks tonight at Prudential Center.
New Jersey has won four in a row and is just one win away from tying its season-high winning streak, which was set from Jan. 31-Feb. 7. All told, the hard-charging Devils have recorded at least a point in 11 of their last 12 games, posting a 9-1-2 mark over that stretch.
The recent surge has helped push the Devils into second place in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. New Jersey is one point ahead of both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in both standings.
Meanwhile, Vancouver is leading the Northwest Division by 18 points over Calgary and is just one point behind Detroit for the top seed in the West. The Canucks recorded a shootout victory last night in Detroit, as they ended the Red Wings' NHL-record home winning streak at 23 games.
Alexandre Burrows scored in the final round of the shootout to give Vancouver a 4-3 win over the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. It was Detroit's first loss in the building since losing to Calgary on Nov. 3.
On the final attempt of the shootout, Burrows skated in on net and faked to the backhand before lifting the puck past Jimmy Howard.
Daniel Sedin scored twice, including the tying goal with just under 16 seconds left in regulation, while Cody Hodgson scored the other goal for the Canucks, who won for the fifth time in their past six games. Roberto Luongo posted 33 saves and stopped all three skaters in the shootout.
"It was a great game, good atmosphere in a good building," said Burrows. "A very good team over there ... We've got to give ourselves some credit. We battled and came back late to tie it up and found a way to get it done. I thought everybody played well and it was nice to get a win."
Thursday's victory was Vancouver's 21st of the season on the road, making the Canucks the first club the first to reach that mark this season. The Canucks, who are 21-10-2 as the guest, are playing the fourth test of a six-game road trip tonight.
The Canucks hope to get Keith Ballard back tonight from an upper-body injury. The defenseman has sat out the last eight games due to the ailment and is questionable tonight. Forward Byron Bitz is also questionable after missing the last three games with a hip problem.
The Devils recently posted a pair of wins during a tour of Montreal and Toronto and Jersey will kick off a brief two-game homestand tonight. New Jersey, which will also host Tampa Bay on Sunday afternoon, is 16-10-3 as the home club this season.
New Jersey last played on Tuesday when it recorded an overtime victory in Toronto. Mark Fayne scored 1:18 into the extra session to give the Devils a 4-3 win at Air Canada Centre. It was just the eighth goal in 116 career games for Fayne and it was also the defenseman's first-ever game-winning score.
Fayne one-timed a shot from the right point that took a bounce and went off the arm of Jonas Gustavsson and into the net for the win.
Petr Sykora had a goal and an assist while Martin Brodeur stopped 29 shots for the Devils.
"We battled really hard," said Brodeur. "We allowed few chances, we blocked a lot of shots. It was a good road game for us. We were able to pull it off, we got a lucky bounce on our side on the game winner."
The Devils hope to get defensemen Adam Larsson and Kurtis Foster back tonight, as the blueliners have missed the last nine and two games, respectively. Both players have been sidelined by back problems and are questionable for tonight's game, as is forward Ryan Carter, who has also missed nine games with a broken finger.
Tonight's encounter is the only scheduled meeting between the Devils and Canucks this season. Vancouver has taken two straight and seven of the last nine in this series overall and four of the last five in the Garden State.
02/24 10:44:06 ET