For the Devils to snap out of their longest winless skid of the season, they'll have to slow the surging Penguins tonight in Pittsburgh. (7:30 p.m., MSG, WFAN 660 AM)
Before their current 0-4-1 skid began, Jersey's Team was alone in second place in the East and within three points of conference-leading Boston. Now the No. 1 seed is further out of reach for the Devils and they've slipped to third place, one point behind Washington.
Martin Brodeur has been in net for all five losses, giving up 16 goals, after going 9-1-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average in 10 starts following his return from an elbow injury that caused him to miss 50 games.
"It's not fun," Brodeur said after Monday's 3-0 road loss to the New York Rangers. "It's the time of the year you need to play well, to win games, to advance and to feel good about yourself. Right now, it's not the case for us. We're doubting how we do stuff out there. We have six games left and we have to find a way to get through this."
The Devils (47-25-4) were shut out for the seventh time this season, despite outshooting the Rangers, 38-37. Brodeur's workload has included 127 shots against in his last three appearances.
Now the Devils netminder hopes to cool off Sidney Crosby, who has four goals and two assists versus the Devils this season – all in two games. Pittsburgh is 2-1-2 against New Jersey this season.
The Penguins close an eight-game homestand and Crosby will be trying to extend a 15-game point streak.
Crosby scored the go-ahead goal with 10:04 remaining in a 4-3 win over the Rangers on Saturday, extending the NHL's longest active point streak to 14 games. He has eight goals and 17 assists during that stretch, which goes back to Feb. 16.
Crosby's latest effort lifted the Penguins (41-27-8) to their fifth win in six games, part of a 12-1-2 stretch since Feb. 25. They've moved into sixth place in the East, one point back of Carolina and two behind fourth-place Philadelphia for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The Penguins, who went 6-1-2 to end last season when they reached the Stanley Cup finals, play four of their final six games on the road.
with AP wire services
(c) New Jersey Devils 2013 - All Rights Reserved
newjerseydevils.com is the official web site of the New Jersey Devils, a member team of the National Hockey League ("NHL"). NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 New Jersey Devils and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.