newjerseydevils.com – It's one more game on the road for the Devils before returning to the comforts of home.
New Jersey closes out its two-game trip with a stop in Buffalo tonight to take on the Sabres at HSBC Arena (7 p.m., FSN NY, Bloomberg 1130 AM).
The Devils (25-15-3) collected their second win in a row – and fourth in five games – with a 4-1 victory over the Hurricanes on Thursday.
Patrik Elias scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, and Martin Brodeur made 20 saves as New Jersey posted its fourth straight over Carolina at the RBC Center.
"It was one of our good games," Brodeur said. "We just did the right things out there. We got the first goal again."
The Devils next contest, a Jan. 16 meeting with the Islanders, will open a three-game homestand and begin a stretch that will see them play 16 of their next 21 games at Prudential Center. So far, the club is 13-5 in Newark.
After a sluggish start, the Devils have been one of the league's best teams the past two months. They are 18-5-1 in their last 24 games, including 8-4-1 on the road.
The surge has helped the Devils maintain a one-point lead over red-hot Pittsburgh in the Atlantic Division.
Brodeur is 7-1-0 with two shutouts and a 1.23 GAA in his last eight starts. Included in that span are two shootout wins against the Sabres during which he has stopped 49 of 51 shots in regulation and overtime.
Elias has picked up his play lately with four goals and four assists in his last seven games.New Jersey is 15-4-0 with three ties against Buffalo since the start of the 2001-02 season.
After finishing with the league's best regular-season record in 2006-07, the Sabres didn't figure to come close to that 113-point total in 2007-08 following the offseason departures of high-scoring centers Daniel Briere and Chris Drury.
The Sabres (19-18-5) are 0-4-4 since a shootout victory at Philadelphia on Dec. 22, giving them their first eight-game losing streak since Jan. 25-Feb. 13, 2003.
Four of Buffalo's losses during the current skid have come in shootouts, including Thursday's 3-2 defeat at Ottawa.
The Sabres did overcome a two-goal deficit in the third period against the Eastern Conference-leading Senators, and got a solid game from backup Jocelyn Thibault, who made 23 saves in his first start since Dec. 6.
Clarke MacArthur and Daniel Paille scored for Buffalo, which played without injured regulars Maxim Afinogenov (groin), Derek Roy (shoulder) and Tim Connolly (groin). Defenseman Jaroslav Spacek did not return after the second period because of back spasms.
Afinogenov, Roy, Connolly and Spacek have accounted for 33 goals and 64 assists this season.
Ryan Miller is expected to be back in net Saturday, hoping to receive better offensive support. Miller has allowed one goal in four of his last six starts, but is 0-2-3 during that span.
The Devils are 2-0 against Miller this season, with a pair of 2-1 shootout victories. He is 2-6-2 with a 2.67 goals-against average in 10 starts versus New Jersey.
with wire services
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