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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, March 13th (All times eastern)

New Jersey Devils (40-24-6) at Minnesota Wild (37-26-7), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils will try to get back on the winning track tonight, as they visit the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.

New Jersey had won three in a row before dropping a huge Eastern Conference test on Tuesday. Carey Price stopped all 38 shots he saw for his second career shutout, as the Montreal Canadiens downed the Devils, 4-0.

The loss dropped the Devils behind the Canadiens for first place in the East by a point. New Jersey, though, has played one fewer game than Montreal, which hosts Ottawa tonight.

The Devils, who have 86 points, actually fell further behind on Wednesday when the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated Buffalo. The Pens now lead the Atlantic and are tied with Montreal for the East lead with 87 points. Pittsburgh is off tonight and New Jersey has a chance to regain the division lead with a win.

Against the Canadiens, Martin Brodeur was tagged for four goals on 33 shots. Leading scorer Zach Parise had totaled five goals over his previous three games, but failed to light the lamp against Montreal. He leads New Jersey with 30 goals and 60 points this season.

New Jersey allowed more than two goals for just the second time in its last 12 contests.

New Jersey continues its four-game road trip tonight and is 1-1-0 so far on the trek. The Devils, who close out the swing on Saturday in Colorado, are 18-12-5 as the visiting club this season.

Minnesota is in the midst of a four-game slide that has the club in danger of falling out of the playoff picture. The Wild currently sit seventh overall in the West, one point ahead of Vancouver. Minnesota is also just a point behind co-leaders Calgary and Colorado in the Northwest Division.

The Wild were last in action on Sunday, and lost to San Jose in a shootout.

After Joe Pavelski scored to give the Sharks the advantage, Pierre-Marc Bouchard tallied three shooters later to keep the shootout alive. However, Patrick Marleau responded when he skated in and beat Niklas Backstrom high to the stick side to give San Jose the 3-2 victory.

Kurtis Foster and Brian Rolston each scored for Minnesota. Backstrom stopped 24-of-26 shots for the Wild.

The loss came in the opener of a four-game homestand. The Wild have lost four of their last five as the host and are 19-11-4 at Xcel Energy Center this season. Minnesota will also host Los Angeles and Colorado on the residency.

The Devils will be visiting Minnesota for the first time since a 3-2 setback on March 4, 2003. The clubs skated to a tie in New Jersey the following season before the Devils posted a 3-2 shootout win at home in December of 2005.

03/13 10:47:30 ET

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