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At halfway mark, Devils seek second wind

Friday, 03.08.2013 / 3:38 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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At halfway mark, Devils seek second wind


 
With their losing streak behind them, the Devils are looking to get a little momentum going.

Head coach Peter DeBoer is preparing his club for a backstretch that begins with this weekend's back-to-back at Carolina on Saturday and at home versus Winnipeg on Sunday.

"I think [the pressure's] going to be on for the next 24 games here," DeBoer said Friday. "Obviously, we cannot afford to go through anything like [the losing streak] again. This is going to be a full sprint the last 24 games to the finish line."

Thursday's 3-2 shootout win over Buffalo ended an 0-5-1 slide and secured an 11-8-5 record at the halfway mark. The Devils erased a 2-0 deficit on third-period goals by Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias before capturing their first shootout victory of the season.

"We needed that win, mentally," DeBoer said. "Obviously, you hope that translates into a winning streak, but at the end of the day, the bottom line is you're going to have to win two out of every three games down the stretch in order to make sure you get a playoff spot. That's what we're looking for."

Johan Hedberg made 23 saves, then stopped shootout attempts by Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville to pick up his first win in his last seven starts.

"Personally, I think it was very important," Hedberg said. "It was good to see some smiling faces again and to go home and not have to think about it too much in negative terms. I'm sure that we're going to try to build off that win. Confidence is a funny thing in sports: one day you have it, then a couple of days later, it's gone. I'm sure that we all feel better about ourselves now. We feel that we can win."

The Devils disrupted two other negative trends: they won for just the third time this season when allowing the first goal (3-7-3) and for only the second time when trailing after two periods (2-5-1).

But for a squad looking to solidify its positioning within the top eight in the conference, there's still work to be done. 

"We want to win two out of three – we want to win three out of three," Hedberg said. "But I always take it one game at a time anyway. Every time you step on the ice, it's a game to be won. Whenever that game's over with, you move on to the next."

Saturday brings a meeting with the Hurricanes, the team that snapped the Devils' season-high five-game winning streak back on Feb. 12.

Hedberg's recipe for success calls for more of the same.

"We keep doing what we've been doing – hopefully spice that up with the confidence from winning a game and knowing that we can put the puck in the net – and come away with a couple of points," he said. "I think we've been doing a lot of good things over this losing stretch, too, it's just that pucks haven't been going our way. Consistency is the biggest thing you can have as a team."

• Henrik Tallinder (lower body) will not travel with the team to Carolina. He was a late scratch Thursday after getting hurt in warm-ups. 

• Friday's practice was limited to Krys Barch and Adam Larsson, who were healthy scratches on Thursday, backup Jeff Frazee and Stefan Matteau.


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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