New Jersey
Devils
43-25-12-2
St. Louis
Blues
39-30-11-2

25 SOG
31 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
NJD
STL
game preview

New Jersey Devils vs. St. Louis Blues

Saturday, 01.31.2004 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

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New Jersey Devils vs. St. Louis Blues
New Jersey Devils vs. St. Louis Blues
Devils-Blues Preview

GAME: New Jersey Devils (26-13-10-1) at St. Louis Blues (25-17-7-1).

TIME: Saturday, 8 p.m. EST.

A little more than a month ago, the St. Louis Blues were focused on first place in the Western Conference.

Their goals aren't quite as lofty now.

St. Louis hopes to end a season-high five-game winless streak when it faces the defending Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils at the Savvis Center.

After beating San Jose on Dec. 18 for their sixth straight victory, the Blues were 20-6-2-1 and one point Detroit for the best record in the conference. Since that win, St. Louis is 5-11-5 and has dropped nine points behind the Red Wings and into a tie with Nashville for second place in the Central Division.

The struggles continued for the Blues with a 4-2 loss to visiting Vancouver on Thursday.

Mark Rycroft and Keith Tkachuk scored for St. Louis, which lost for the second time this season when leading after two periods. The Blues have just six goals during an 0-4-1 skid.

"We're at the bottom of the barrel right now," forward Dallas Drake said. "We're looking for any answer we can get."

While the offense isn't generating much, starting goaltender Chris Osgood is also struggling. Osgood has won just one of his last 14 decisions (1-9-4).

Making matters worse for the Blues, center Pavol Demitra missed Thursday's game with a hip pointer and is expected to be out at least a week

Blues coach Joel Quenneville has vowed to make changes.

"We'll keep at it," Quenneville said. "Sitting guys, shuffling guys. We're looking at options."

Those changes have already started, with St. Louis picking up forward Pascal Rheaume off waivers from the New York Rangers on Thursday. Rheaume, who played for the Blues from 1997-2000, is expected to take the ice Saturday.

The Devils were cooled off with a 5-2 loss at Detroit on Thursday, ending their three-game win streak. While New Jersey failed to convert any of its seven power-play opportunities, the Red Wings scored on both of their chances with the man advantage.

"We traded chances and they capitalized on theirs and we didn't," New Jersey coach Pat Burns said. "Either their penalty killing was good, or our power play was no good."

Thursday's defeat ended New Jersey's four-game road unbeaten streak (3-0-1).

One positive for the Devils out of Thursday's loss was the return of right wing Jamie Langenbrunner, who played his first game since Nov. 28.

2003-2004 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Jan 31 '04NJD 4 at STL 1S. Brylin
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
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