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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 12th (All times eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (28-33-6) at New Jersey Devils (43-20-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The first-place New Jersey Devils will face one of the bottom teams in the Western Conference tonight, as they host the Phoenix Coyotes at Prudential Center.

With 89 points, the Devils have a seven-point lead over Philadelphia for first in the Atlantic Division. New Jersey is also six points behind Boston for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

New Jersey has won five of its last six games and is coming off Tuesday's close victory over visiting Calgary. Jamie Langenbrunner scored a short-handed goal and added an assist while Martin Brodeur moved closer to history with 35 saves, as the Devils defeated the Flames, 3-2, at the Rock.

Brodeur picked up career victory No. 549 and is now just two wins away from tying Patrick Roy for the all-time victory mark by a goaltender in league history.

Brian Rolston and Zach Parise also scored for New Jersey. Parise, who snapped a three-game goal-less streak, has a career-high 39 goals and 79 points this season.

The Devils are playing the second of two in a row on home ice and are 23-10-1 as the host this season. Next up for Jersey is Saturday's road test in Montreal.

The Coyotes are last in the Pacific Division and 14th in the West with 62 points on the year. Still, Phoenix is just nine points away from a postseason berth.

Phoenix has lost three straight, six of seven and 15 of its last 19 games. The Coyotes were able to earn a point their last time out, as they were handed an overtime loss Tuesday in Detroit. Johan Franzen scored 3:35 into OT to lead the Red Wings to the 3-2 decision at Joe Louis Arena.

Ed Jovanovski sent the game to overtime with a power-play tally while Martin Hanzal also scored for Phoenix.

Ilya Bryzgalov was peppered with 43 shots, stopping 40 in suffering the hard- luck loss.

Phoenix has a dreadful 11-20-4 mark as the visiting club and is closing out a five-game road trip tonight. The Coyotes, who are 1-2-1 on the swing so far, will host Nashville on Saturday to begin a four-game homestand.

The Coyotes have won three straight and four of their last five encounters with the Devils. Phoenix also came out on top in its previous two trips to the Garden State. New Jersey's last win in the series came in Phoenix on February 12, 2003.

03/12 10:48:56 ET

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