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Schneider, Devils set to battle Cats

First start in a week for Schneider comes Friday in Florida

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 3:56 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Schneider, Devils set to battle Cats
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The Devils are looking to keep a good thing going in the Sunshine State.

Winners of two in a row, they take aim at their second, season-high three-game winning streak of the season when they visit the Panthers on Friday.

It would be their first run of three straight since Nov. 16-21, when they topped Pittsburgh at the Rock and followed it up with overtime wins at Anaheim and Los Angeles.

With just 16 to go in the regular season, a long winning streak couldn't come at a better time. The Devils have taken five of seven since the Olympic break, including four wins versus divisional opponents.

“We’ve been talking about that for awhile, that we need to string some wins together,” coach Peter DeBoer said after Thursday's practice. “Whether it’s three in a row or four out of five or seven out of nine, we’ve just got to keep climbing here and putting points in the bank. The reality is, we’re not going to win every game the rest of the season. You can’t get too high or too low on the results as long as we’re consistently putting points in the bank."

Cory Schneider will make his first start since last Friday, when he allowed a career-high seven goals in Detroit. He’s hoping to end a personal two-game slide.

“You get out what you put in,” Schneider said of his time off between starts. “For me, I look at it as an opportunity to maybe work on some stuff, do some puck handling, just fine-tune my game, and try to fix anything that hasn’t been going well the last two starts. I felt really good in practice and I haven’t thought about my last game at all. I’m in a good state of mind and excited to go play and do what I can.”

With Dan Ellis starting Florida’s meeting with Tampa Bay on Thursday, Schneider’s likely to face his former Canucks teammate Roberto Luongo for the first time since the March 4 deal that sent Luongo back to the Panthers.

Luongo has claimed a pair of 3-2 wins versus Schneider this season: in overtime at Vancouver on Oct. 8, then in a shootout at Prudential Center on Oct. 24.

“A lot’s happened since then,” Schneider said. “I’m sure it was strange for him to see me in a different jersey, but it’ll be strange for me to see him in a different jersey, although it’s the same one that I grew up watching him in when he was with Florida.

"He’s an elite goalie in this League and he’s going to give them a chance to win every night, so we have to be really sharp against him.”

The Devils (29-24-13, 71 pts) are knocking on the door. As of Thursday, they were tied with Detroit, two points behind Philadelphia for the second wild card spot in the East, and two in back of Columbus for third in the Metropolitan Division.

"I think that’s exactly where we’re at,” DeBoer said. “Hey, we’d love to win every game the rest of the way. This is going to be a sprint right to the finish line. I think that’s the reality. I don’t think there’s going to be a ton of separation here. The good news is we’ve given ourselves a chance to be in that race to the finish line.”

The three-game road trip concludes Saturday night in Tampa Bay. The Devils' vintage red and green uniforms return on Tuesday, when Boston visits for the start of a season-high five-game homestand at Prudential Center.

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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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