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NEWS

Schneider, Devils set to battle Cats

First start in a week for Schneider comes Friday in Florida

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 3:56 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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Schneider, Devils set to battle Cats
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 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
M. Cammalleri 51 23 10 4 33
A. Henrique 56 12 20 -1 32
P. Elias 53 10 16 -13 26
S. Gomez 39 5 18 -9 23
M. Zidlicky 63 4 19 -7 23
T. Zajac 55 10 10 -4 20
S. Bernier 48 10 8 1 18
M. Ryder 44 6 12 -2 18
A. Larsson 45 2 16 3 18
M. Havlat 38 5 9 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 23 23 6 .927 2.19
K. Kinkaid 3 4 3 .915 2.59