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Playoff picture sharpens for Devils

Saturday, 03.12.2011 / 11:55 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Playoff picture sharpens for Devils
On Saturday, the Devils beat the Islanders in overtime, then got plenty of help in their playoff quest with losses by both Buffalo and Carolina.

No matter the outcome of the Rangers' game in San Jose, the Devils were assured of being no worse than six points behind the eighth spot by Sunday morning.

The Sabres lost 4-3 in Toronto, while Carolina lost 3-2 at home to 12th-place Columbus.

A win or an OT loss by the Rangers Saturday against the Sharks, and they would move ahead of Buffalo into seventh place. With no points, the Rangers would remain in a points tie with the Sabres, though Buffalo would hold seventh because of its two games in hand.

With 68 points, the Devils still have to climb over three teams: the Hurricanes, who are two points behind Buffalo with 72; and the Maple Leafs and Thrashers, who with 70 points apiece are both four behind the Sabres.

New Jersey hosts Atlanta on Tuesday.

After consecutive OT wins to reach the .500 mark, the Devils are feeling pretty good about staying on this roll with just 14 games left.

"I think we’re definitely looking forward to playing again and keeping everything going," Martin Brodeur said. "We just played back-to-back overtime games and we’re definitely going to welcome the two days of rest here before we have to get back at it on Tuesday."

Jacques Lemaire has said the playoffs were unrealistic until the deficit had been whittled down to five points.

What about now that it's six points?

"Ask me at five," he said.