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Devils hope to break on high note

Tuesday, 01.25.2011 / 4:54 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils hope to break on high note
Arnott and the Devils battle Detroit on Wednesday.
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The streaking Devils have won four in a row and roll into the Motor City with a 6-0-1 record in their last seven games.

When they visit the Red Wings on Wednesday, they’ll be looking to accomplish something no Devils team has done at Joe Louis Arena since Nov. 6, 1996 – win.

A rare Motown “W” would help preserve the momentum the Devils have built by taking 13 of 14 points to start the second half.

“It’s very important,” Jason Arnott said. “We’ve been playing very well as of late, but we have to keep it going, keep this ride going, and keep playing the same way. It would give us a good feeling over the break, something to look forward to come back to. One game isn’t actually going to break us, but to have that good feeling of winning, especially against Detroit, would be great.”

They also want to head into this weekend’s All-Star break on a high note. After Wednesday, they won’t play another game until hosting Ottawa next Tuesday.

“It’s always better to end on a win,” Travis Zajac said. “Things are always a lot more fun when you’re winning.”

With 34 games remaining, the Devils (16-29-3) sit 20 points out of the final playoff spot in the East. That leaves precious little margin for error the rest of the way.

Arnott hasn’t glanced much at the Eastern standings. Not yet. But entering Monday's games, New Jersey had closed within two points of the Islanders, who sit 14th in the conference.

“Me personally, I haven’t really thought about it,” Arnott said. “It’s just a nice feeling winning again, playing well as a team, and having that good feeling in the room, that positivity and excitement coming back slowly. That’s what we’ve been missing. It’d be nice just to focus in on one game at a time and just keep it rolling like that and try not to look too far into the future until we get really close. If not, we can’t really worry about that.”

The Devils will be facing a shorthanded Red Wings roster. Up front, the Central Division leaders are still without Dan Cleary, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom. Those three combined for six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in Detroit’s 4-1 victory at Prudential Center on Dec. 11.

“And they still have an extremely dangerous team, which is crazy,” Arnott said. “Crazy.”

The injuries might have slowed the Wings, but they haven’t derailed them. They’re 2-3-1 in their last six yet still hold a four-point lead over second-place Nashville.

Detroit is second in goals per game (3.4) and has the League's fifth-best power play (21.8 percent).

“They’ve got one of the best teams in the League, so they’re always going to be dangerous,” Zajac said. “Their D can move the puck and it makes it a lot easier on their forwards. They’re always going to be a good team; they always have good puck possession. They make it hard on teams.”

-- Jacques Lemaire wasn’t sure whether Nick Palmieri and Vladimir Zharkov will be in Wednesday’s lineup. Both Palmieri (upper body) and Zharkov (ill) have missed the last two games.

“I don’t know,” Lemaire said after practice. “With what I saw this morning, I don’t know if I’m going to play them.”

What did he see from them at practice?

“Nothing,” he said.

In Palmieri’s case, it could be the effect of missing a couple of days of practice, though.

“Could be,” Lemaire said. “It’s gotta be. He was playing well before.”

There’s better news on defense. In that department, Lemaire said he feels his team is improving. They’ve allowed five goals in the last four games.

“I mentioned I didn’t like the whole game last game [against Florida], but I’m very pleased in the last couple of weeks what the guys have been doing,” the coach said. “They’ve been focusing on what we’re asking and they’ve been doing the job.”

Lemaire said Martin Brodeur will “probably” start. It would be Brodeur’s second straight start and seventh in the last eight games. He’s won three in a row.

“He’s been practicing hard,” Lemaire said. “Our defensemen are playing better than they were, so that helps him too. So a combination of defensemen playing better and him working harder got him better.”

-- Colin White (lower body) will miss his second straight game.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51

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