NEWS

Devils in thick of Eastern bottleneck

Club faces critical matchups vs. divisional opponents in weeks ahead

Monday, 03.3.2008 / 11:35 AM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils in thick of Eastern bottleneck

Brian Gionta has scored both New Jersey goals over the club's last three games.


newjerseydevils.com –
With just over a month remaining in the NHL's regular season, the Eastern Conference race could hardly get any closer.

On the heels of two losses over the weekend, the Devils find themselves in a crowded pool of four teams currently sitting at or near the conference's coveted top seed. Montreal and Pittsburgh are tied in points with 81 each, followed by the Devils and Senators with 80.

New Jersey's 2-1 defeat in Montreal Saturday night gave the Canadiens a one-point lead in the conference and handed the Devils consecutive regulation losses for the first time since Jan. 29 and Feb. 1.

It was the third straight win for the Canadiens, who extended the Devils' winless streak to three games (0-2-1). For the second time in that span, Brian Gionta scored the lone goal for New Jersey, which had gone seven straight road games without a regulation loss (5-0-2).

A day later, the Habs had company. The Penguins got their second win in six games (2-2-2) with a 4-3 shootout victory over Atlanta on Sunday. Kris Letang notched the deciding goal in the shootout to put the Atlantic-leading Pens one point ahead of the Devils, who held a game in hand.

New Jersey slipped to the fourth seed in the conference, behind the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes. Fifth-seeded Ottawa, second in the Northeast, was followed by the Bruins and Rangers with 76 points apiece.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, has rebounded from a recent 0-8-2 skid to take three of four (3-0-1) and a three-point cushion on Buffalo for the final playoff berth in the East. Just seven points separate first from eighth in the conference.

The fuzzy picture atop the East and the Atlantic should come into sharper focus over the next four weeks. March pits the Devils against each team in the division at least once, and includes a potentially pivotal series finale between New Jersey and Montreal on March 11 at the Bell Centre.

The Devils are set to host all of their divisional foes this month, and the club concludes the regular season with nine of its final 10 games within the Atlantic.

The Rangers visit on Wednesday, March 19, followed by the Islanders on Friday, March 21. New Jersey then entertains Pittsburgh (March 25) and Philadelphia (March 28), closing out the month with four of six at Prudential Center.

A four-game road swing beginning March 8 in Toronto will feature the Devils versus the Minnesota Wild and the Colorado Avalanche.

Minnesota has won three straight to surge two points ahead of second-place Calgary in the Northwest Division, while Colorado has grabbed points in five of six (4-1-1) to keep pace with Nashville and Vancouver on the Western playoff bubble.

The Devils' next home game is slated for Friday, March 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tickets for all Devils home games are available at the arena box office Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., by clicking here to purchase online, or by calling Ticketmaster Charge by Phone: NJ (201) 507-8900 - NY: (212) 307-7171.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
5 PIT 77 42 24 11 211 194 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 PHI 77 31 29 17 202 220 79
12 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 78 29 43 6 204 249 64
16 BUF 77 22 47 8 152 258 52

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 70 16 25 -3 41
M. Cammalleri 63 27 13 3 40
P. Elias 64 11 21 -16 32
S. Gomez 53 7 24 -8 31
S. Bernier 62 13 14 3 27
T. Zajac 69 11 12 -4 23
A. Larsson 59 3 20 3 23
A. Greene 77 3 18 2 21
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
E. Gelinas 57 6 12 -3 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 28 9 .927 2.20
K. Kinkaid 5 5 3 .918 2.47