NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, January 14th
(All times eastern)
New Jersey Devils (32-11-1) at Phoenix Coyotes (26-16-5), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - There isn't much left for New Jersey Devils netminder
Martin Brodeur to accomplish in the NHL, so he might just have to settle with
leading his team to another Stanley Cup championship.
Brodeur could be in line for his 24th straight start as the Devils continue a
four-game road trip tonight versus a struggling Phoenix Coyotes team that has
lost four straight at Jobing.com Arena.
The 37-year-old Brodeur has helped backstop New Jersey to a 32-11-1 record
this season, including an 18-5-0 mark over the club's last 23 games. That has
the Devils atop the Eastern Conference with 65 points, three more than
Washington, in addition to their six-point lead over Pittsburgh for first in
the Atlantic Division.
Brodeur has posted four shutouts over his last 10 starts, including an
incredible 1-0 shootout victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday in which
the four-time Vezina Trophy winner made 51 saves and another four in the
"Both goaltenders had to be excellent to push the game to overtime, and even
in overtime we both made saves," said Brodeur, who notched his sixth shutout
of the season and 107th of his career to extend his NHL record. "It was a
pretty entertaining game despite the lack of goal scoring."
Patrik Elias had the game's lone goal, a fourth-round shootout tally on the
Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist, who made 45 saves in regulation and overtime.
New Jersey has won four of its last five overall and three straight on the
road, where it is 16-4-1 this season. The Devils could again turn to Brodeur
tonight as they play the second contest of their swing.
Brodeur is 11-7-0 with a 2.20 goals-against average versus the Coyotes. He
made 26 saves in a 5-2 home win over them last year, posting the 550th victory
of his career. That left him one shy of Patrick Roy's all-time record, though
Brodeur has since passed that mark and now owns 586 wins in his career.
That loss to New Jersey last season snapped Phoenix's three-game series
winning streak, though the club has still won two of three and four of its
last six at home versus the Devils.
The Coyotes had been one of the better home teams in the NHL this season, but
have now lost four in a row at Jobing.com Arena (0-2-2) since winning a
franchise-record 10 straight there.
Phoenix also lost its season-high third consecutive game overall on Tuesday, a
3-1 setback to Pacific Division-leading San Jose. The second-place Coyotes
fell 10 points back of the Sharks with the loss and are fifth in the Western
Conference with 57 points.
"We're a group that isn't in rhythm right now," Coyotes head coach Dave
Tippett said. "There are some mistakes that are going against us. Our margin
for error is very slim on most nights,"
Radim Vrbata scored the lone goal for the Coyotes, who have also lost five of
six overall and are 0-1-1 on a six-game homestand. Phoenix is 16-7-2 overall
at home this season.
Jason LaBarbera turned aside 29-of-32 shots for Phoenix, which went 0-for-7 on
the power play and is likely to turn back to Ilya Bryzgalov in net tonight.
Bryzgalov went 8-2-3 with a 1.82 GAA in December, but is 1-2-0 with a 4.27 GAA
in four January starts. He has never before faced New Jersey.
Phoenix will be without Ed Jovanovski tonight, as the defenseman serves the
second contest of his two-game suspension for an elbow to the head of
Islanders rookie John Tavares on Saturday.
01/14 10:56:54 ET