The New Jersey Devils are running out of time as they look for a way to capture another Atlantic Division title. Facing teams like the Boston Bruins could be the perfect solution.
The Devils look to move into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic when they conclude their season series with the last-place Bruins on Sunday.
New Jersey (46-24-8) fell one point off the division lead with Pittsburgh's 5-4 overtime loss at Toronto on Saturday. The Penguins, who have 101 points with three games remaining, don't play again until Tuesday against Buffalo.
Three of New Jersey's last four opponents are not in playoff position, starting with Boston (35-37-6), which has lost seven of eight and will finish at the bottom of the Northeast Division.
The Devils snapped a five-game home losing streak with a 3-1 win over league-worst Philadelphia on Friday night for their fourth win in five games. Martin Brodeur needed to make only 14 saves for his 45th win - tying him with Vancouver's Roberto Luongo for the league lead - and two shy of Bernie Parent's single-season record.
"We didn't start the way we wanted, but we were able to get out of the first period 0-0. After that, I thought we took over the game," said Brodeur, 1-1-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average versus Boston this season.
Devils center Brian Gionta, out since March 6 with a groin injury, may be activated for this game. He's second on the team with 24 goals, and has four goals and four assists in his last six games against the Bruins.
"I think our plan would be to have him back if he's 100 percent," New Jersey coach Claude Julien said. "We just have to make sure he feels good."
Scott Gomez, second on the team with 60 points, left with a thigh injury after one shift in the second period against the Flyers and is day-to-day.
Boston rallied from a 2-0 deficit on Saturday on goals by Marco Sturm and Peter Kalus, but lost 3-2 to Atlanta when Joey MacDonald gave up Keith Tkachuk's goal with 19 seconds to play.
"We have to get better as a group and as a team," said Bruins coach Dave Lewis.
MacDonald finished with 37 saves, and got the start after Tim Thomas went 0-5-0 with a 4.19 GAA in his last five games. Thomas is 1-1-0 with a 3.76 GAA in two starts against the Devils this season in Boston.
Thomas has never started in New Jersey.
Marc Savard had an assist against Atlanta, giving him a team-high 92 points this season. He needs six points in his final four games to set a new career high. He had a goal and assist in his first two games versus the Devils this season, but was held off the scoresheet in a 4-1 road win on March 4.
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