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At halfway mark, Devils seek second wind

Friday, 03.8.2013 / 3:38 PM ET / 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 - 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