NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, January 29th
(All times eastern)
Toronto Maple Leafs (17-27-10) at New Jersey Devils (34-16-2), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils will try to avoid their second three-
game skid of the month when they welcome the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs for
tonight's clash at Prudential Center.
The Maple Leafs and Devils are meeting for the first time this season, but the
clubs will get to know each over the next week. New Jersey will also visit the
Leafs on Tuesday to begin a home-and-home series that will end next Friday in
The Devils come into tonight with a three-point lead over Pittsburgh for the
Atlantic Division lead, but have not been playing like a first-place team in
recent weeks. In addition to losing two straight, New Jersey has dropped three
of four and six of its last eight contests.
New Jersey has lost three in a row on just two occasions this season, with the
most recent occurrence coming from January 14-18.
The Devils were able to record a point in their most recent setback, as they
dropped a shootout decision Wednesday in Buffalo. Jochen Hecht and Jason
Pominville each scored in the shootout to lift the Sabres to the 2-1 victory
at HSBC Arena.
Brian Rolston tallied in regulation for the Devils, who had won six of seven
shootouts this season prior to Wednesday's loss. Martin Brodeur allowed one
goal on 31 shots before stopping just 1-of-3 shots in the deciding phase.
"I thought our team played hard tonight," Rolston said. "We're having a hard
time scoring right now, and we're not getting enough power plays. Our power
play hasn't been clicking, either, but those are things that kind of go in
cycles. So we have to be happy about the effort; obviously, you're not happy
that we lost."
The Devils have just eight goals in their last six games and have been shut
out twice during that span. Jersey is averaging 2.56 goals per game on the
Tonight marks the first of two straight on home ice for Jersey, which is
17-8-0 as the host this year. The Devils will also welcome Los Angeles on
Toronto, meanwhile, has lost four straight and nine of its last 11 games and
comes into tonight just one point ahead of Carolina for last place in the
The Maple Leafs were in action on Tuesday night and dropped a 5-3 decision to
Los Angeles. Jarret Stoll and Drew Doughty each had a goal and an assist to
lead the way for the visiting Kings.
Niklas Hagman scored twice and Nikolai Kulemin had a goal for the Maple Leafs.
Jonas Gustavsson made 28 stops in the loss.
"We have to battle harder and get more pucks on the net," said Toronto
defenseman Tomas Kaberle. "That has been our problem lately, getting pucks on
net and getting good chances. We also have to eliminate the mistakes in the
neutral zone and our own end."
Toronto is just 8-16-5 as the guest this year and has lost three straight and
eight of its last nine road games.
The Maple Leafs won three out of four meetings with New Jersey last year and
claimed victory in both games at Prudential Center. The Devils have still won
five of eight overall in the series and the clubs have split the last six
encounters in the Garden State.
01/29 10:41:42 ET