NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 16th (All times eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (30-17-9) at New Jersey Devils (35-16-6), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The top two teams in the Atlantic Division do battle tonight as the New Jersey Devils welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins to Continental Airlines Arena.
The Devils are in first place in the Atlantic with 76 points, but Pittsburgh has pulled within seven points of that lead. Jersey is second in the Eastern Conference, while Pittsburgh is tied with Ottawa for the fourth spot.
New Jersey has held the upper hand in the series with the Pens this year, winning three of the four meetings between the clubs. The Devils have also taken four straight on home ice from the Penguins and six of the last seven encounters overall.
The Devils won for the fifth time in six games Wednesday, as they pasted the visiting Montreal Canadiens, 5-2. Patrik Elias had a goal and two assists to help New Jersey ease past the Habs at the Meadowlands.
Brian Rafalski had two goals while Zach Parise also scored for the Devils, who rebounded from Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay. Martin Brodeur made 19 saves to improve to 35-15-5 on the year.
Jamie Langenbrunner notched a pair of assists to push his point-scoring streak to seven games. His tear is tied for the longest current streak in the NHL.
The Devils played Wednesday's game without the services of center John Madden (facial laceration) and defenseman Colin White (upper body), but both players could be back this evening.
However, the Devils leading goal scorer, Brian Gionta, may not be able to skate in this evening's contest. Gionta, who has 24 goals on the year, suffered a groin pull in Wednesday's game and is questionable for tonight.
Tonight marks the final test of a six-game homestand for New Jersey, which is an impressive 21-5-4 as the host this year.
The Penguins have been extremely hot lately, winning four straight and 10 of their last 11 games. They have also registered a point in 14 consecutive contests (12-0-2), and a win or a loss after regulation tonight would give Pittsburgh its first streak of 15 straight games with a point since the 1992-93 campaign. That year the Pens ended the regular season with 17 wins and a tie,
Pittsburgh is coming off Wednesday's home win over Chicago. Rookie Evgeni Malkin tied the game late in the third period and also netted the deciding shootout marker as the Penguins edged the Blackhawks, 5-4, at Mellon Arena.
Marc-Andre Fleury came up with two pivotal stops on Martin Havlat late and finished with 24 saves for the Penguins. Ronald Petrovicky, Maxime Talbot and Michel Ouellet each scored in regulation during the win.
02/16 10:57:40 ET