NEWS

Devils look to rebound in Buffalo

Monday, 02.13.2012 / 12:06 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils look to rebound in Buffalo


 
A two-game skid cooled the Devils' surge out of the All-Star break, but they'll have a chance to regain their momentum Tuesday in Buffalo.

New Jersey had fired off five straight victories before Thursday, beating the Rangers twice and posting convincing wins over Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Thursday's shootout loss to St. Louis gave them points in seven straight (5-0-2) before Saturday's 3-1 setback versus Florida.

Coach Peter DeBoer didn't rule out the fatigue factor involved with playing seven games in 12 days.

"I'm not making excuses, but it was our first regulation loss in eight games," coach Peter DeBoer said Monday. "We just didn't have it. We had it early, and it faded, so you have to look at why. You have to give [the Panthers] some credit. When you take a perspective, taking the emotion of the game out of it, you look at the reasons. Why didn't we have any jump, why didn't we have legs, why couldn't we create anything? That's [fatigue] one of the reasons that pops up. Hopefully, we rectified that. We got away from the rink for a day and we'll come back reenergized here."

Martin Brodeur, whose winning streak ended at four, finished with 17 saves. He will start Tuesday's series finale with Buffalo.

The Devils (31-20-4) are facing the Sabres for the fourth and final time this season. They took the first two meetings – 5-3 at Buffalo on Nov. 16 and 3-1 at Prudential Center on Dec. 28 – before coming up short in a 2-1 shootout defeat at home on Jan. 24.

New Jersey was sixth in the East entering Monday's action, three points behind fifth-place Pittsburgh.

The Sabres' (24-25-6) three-game win streak ended with a 2-1 home loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday. Buffalo is 5-1-1 in its last seven.

"They're playing for their life, as are the other teams we're playing this week, Anaheim and Montreal, Toronto," DeBoer said. "It's not necessarily the opponent as much as the desperation level. And right now, for me, the desperation level doesn't get any higher than two weeks prior to the trade deadline."

Patrik Elias has two goals, three assists for five points in the first three games of the season series. Zach Parise and Petr Sykora each have two goals and an assist, while Brodeur had an assist in each of the first two games.

Brodeur has started all three games, going 2-0-1 with a 1.62 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.

"This was going to be his start even if the numbers told a different story," DeBoer said. "He's rested, we're in the stretch run here, Heddy [Johan Hedberg] will still get some games, but Marty's going to play a lot."

Elias, the Devils' leading scorer (19g-34a-53pts), has 19 points (6g-13a) in his last 16 games. He saw a seven-game points streak end Saturday (2g-6a).

Ilya Kovalchuk trails Elias by one point (22g-30a-52pts) and has 12 points (3a-9a) in his last seven games.

Like Elias, Parise had a seven-game points streak snapped Saturday (6g-3a). He's third on the Devils with 48 points (21g-27a).

DeBoer practiced the same lines from the end of Saturday's game, moving Adam Henrique back between Parise and Kovalchuk, and putting Elias between Sykora and David Clarkson. Dainius Zubrus centered Alexei Ponikarovsky and Steve Bernier.

"I'm not married to any combination," the coach said. "We're just trying to score some goals and get some depth scoring. We had one [goal] last game and we've got to some different combinations today, but that doesn't mean we won't end up back where we were again."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59