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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, January 29th (All times eastern)

Pittsburgh Penguins (27-18-4) at New Jersey Devils (28-18-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of Atlantic Division rivals will open up the second half of the season tonight, as the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center in the first game for both teams after the All-Star break.

Just one point separates the Devils and Penguins in the division standings, as New Jersey is tied with Philadelphia for first place and Pittsburgh is next with 58 points.

The Devils are 3-1 against the Penguins this season and have won five of seven and seven of the last 10 encounters. Pittsburgh has won three straight at New Jersey, but just one of those victories have come at the Prudential Center.

The Penguins were handed back-to-back losses just before the break and the most recent loss came last Thursday in Philadelphia. Mike Knuble's goal broke a tie early in the third period and Martin Biron made several key saves down the stretch, as the Flyers defeated Pittsburgh, 4-3.

Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Whitney and Petr Sykora scored for the Penguins. Ty Conklin started between the pipes for the Penguins and allowed four goals on 33 shots.

The Penguins are 1-1-1 in three games since losing their superstar centerman and team captain Sidney Crosby to a high ankle sprain. Crosby, who has 63 points in 46 games this year, suffered the injury against Tampa Bay on January 18 and is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks of action.

Tonight's test marks the middle test of a three-game road trip, which ends Wednesday in Atlanta. Pittsburgh is 14-9-1 as the visiting team this season, but has dropped two of its last three tests on the road.

The Devils had won two straight games before dropping a home test to Montreal on Thursday. Bryan Smolinski scored twice as the Canadiens came back to top the Devils, 4-3.

The Canadiens had been 0-9-1 in their last 10 at New Jersey, and 1-21-4 in their last 26 entering play Thursday. The comeback win was Montreal's first over the Devils in Jersey since February 5, 2002.

Patrik Elias scored twice for the Devils, who have lost three of five. Mike Mottau had two assists, and Jamie Langenbrunner also scored for the Devils. Martin Brodeur turned away 28 shots for New Jersey, which was outshot 32-13.

The Devils began a five-game homestand against the Canadiens and are 14-8-0 in the inaugural season at the Prudential Center. New Jersey has dropped three of its last four tests in Newark.

01/29 10:45:19 ET


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