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Devils hope to break on high note

Tuesday, 01.25.2011 / 4:54 PM ET / 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.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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