GAME: New Jersey Devils (23-18-5) at Nashville Predators (28-12-5).
TIME: Thursday, 8 p.m. EST.
It's been a great 2006 so far for Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils.
Brodeur and the Devils look to extend their season-high winning streak to eight games when they visit the Nashville Predators.
New Jersey was 16-18-5 after a 6-3 loss to Toronto on Dec. 31, but has welcomed in the new year with a perfect record and its longest winning streak since a 13-game run in the 2000-01 season.
"After the New Year we're 7-0," center Patrick Elias said. "And the last couple of games we haven't played our best games, but we've found a way to win."
Even though they squandered a three-goal lead Tuesday, the Devils managed to pull out a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues as Brodeur secured his 424th career win and moved into fifth place on the NHL's career victory list.
"Every time you pass somebody who made history in hockey, you've got to feel pretty good about yourself," said Brodeur, who entered the game tied with Hall of Famer Tony Esposito on the list. "I've got a lot of accomplishments.
"If I keep winning and I keep going forward and being focused on what I need to do they'll be there for me, so that's nice."
New Jersey jumped out to its quick lead after Brian Gionta netted two first-period goals and John Madden added one in the second. The Blues, though, answered with three straight scores before Grant Marshall got the go-ahead goal in the final period for the Devils.
Linemates Gionta, Elias and Scott Gomez have scored 12 of the Devils' 25 goals during the winning streak. Gomez has eight goals and 11 assists in his last 10 games.
A tired Nashville team ended a two-game skid by holding off the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on Sunday.
After building a 5-1 lead, the Predators relaxed a little too early and allowed the Penguins to score three straight goals to pull within one before time ran out.
"I thought we were real sloppy in our clears and our passes and not real sharp. ... Just chalk it up to 12 games in 20 nights," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "Guys are trying to get a little rest, and mentally they're not sharp."
Scott Walker had two goals and Scott Hartnell finished with two assists for the Predators.
STANDINGS: Devils - 51 points, 3rd place, 13 PB, Atlantic Division. Predators - 61 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Devils - Gionta, 28 goals and 49 points; Gomez, 27 assists; Marshall and Colin White, 49 PIM. Predators - Steve Sullivan, 22 goals; Paul Kariya, 28 assists; Sullivan and Kariya, 42 points; Darcy Hordichuk, 107 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Devils - Power play: 16.7 percent (46 for 275), 18th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.5 percent (174 for 211), 15th. Predators - Power play: 18.5 percent (53 for 287), 11th. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent (252 for 297), 6th.
GOALTENDERS: Devils - Brodeur (21-14-3, 3 SO, 2.69 GAA); Scott Clemmensen (2-4-2, 3.83). Predators - Tomas Vokoun (22-9-4, 1, 2.67); Chris Mason (5-2-1, 2.95).
2003-04 SERIES: Predators, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 3, 2004; Predators, 3-2. At Nashville, Tenn., David Legwand scored twice as the Predators beat the Devils for the first time in five games on their home ice.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devils - 9-11-2 on the road; Predators - 18-5-0 at home.
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