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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 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 55 15 25 6 40
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
A. Henrique 53 18 18 14 36
K. Palmieri 55 20 15 3 35
T. Zajac 47 8 18 7 26
D. Schlemko 47 6 9 -8 15
A. Larsson 55 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 51 1 12 -1 13
A. Greene 55 4 6 2 10
J. Josefson 44 3 7 -14 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 24 16 6 .930 2.01
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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