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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, February 20th (All times eastern)

San Jose Sharks (31-20-8) at New Jersey Devils (34-21-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The San Jose Sharks will try to halt a four-game losing streak when they visit the New Jersey Devils for this evening's matchup at the Prudential Center.

The Sharks are 0-3-1 in their last four games and have dropped the first two tests of a season-high eight-game road trip. San Jose, which has a strong 17-7-3 mark as the visiting team this year, has now lost three straight and five of its last six road tilts.

San Jose began its swing with Sunday's 3-1 setback to the New York Rangers before heading across town and losing to the Islanders the following afternoon. Freddy Meyer netted the go-ahead goal midway through the third period as the Islanders scored three unanswered goals and defeated the Sharks, 3-2, at Nassau Coliseum.

Marcel Goc and Joe Thornton scored the goals for San Jose, which has lost five of its last seven contests.

Evgeni Nabokov made 17 saves in defeat, but had to leave the game midway through the second period with a laceration of the nose and mouth. He did return for the third stanza. Thomas Greiss played 9:36 of the second and turned aside one shot.

Nabokov returned in the third and is expected to play again tonight. The 32- year-old backstop is tied with Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff for the NHL lead with 58 games played by a goaltender.

San Jose has 70 points on the season and is currently sixth in the Western Conference playoff standings.

New Jersey, meanwhile, has won two straight and four of its last five games and is now extremely close to the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Devils have 73 points and are tied with Pittsburgh for first place in the Atlantic Division. Jersey is also just two points behind Ottawa for the top spot in the East.

The Devils' latest victory came in blowout fashion Monday afternoon against visiting Carolina. Travis Zajac scored a goal and added an assist as the New Jersey Devils breezed past the Hurricanes, 5-1, at Prudential Center.

Martin Brodeur was steady, stopping 21-of-22 shots for New Jersey. Mike Mottau, Jay Pandolfo, Johnny Oduya and Zach Parise each had a goal in the win. Brian Gionta and Dainius Zubrus each chipped in with a pair of assists.

This evening's test marks the middle portion of a three-game homestand for the Devils, who are 19-11-1 as the host club this season. New Jersey has won five of its last seven contests at the Rock.

New Jersey has won five of the last seven encounters with the Sharks and San Jose has lost its previous two games in the Garden State. This will be the Sharks first stop in Jersey since November 5, 2003 and also marks their first contest at the Prudential Center.

02/20 10:49:56 ET


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