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After a promising start to the season, Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils have taken a tumble.
They'll both try to get back on track when they face the Florida Panthers at Continental Airlines Arena on Thursday.
The Devils began the season with three wins in four games, but have since lost four of five. New Jersey has dropped three straight, including a pair of ugly road losses - an 8-1 defeat to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night and a 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.
The Devils (4-4-1) are just 1-for-26 on the power play in the last five contests.
"It's not Devils hockey," said goalie Martin Brodeur, who's allowed 10 goals in his last two games. New Jersey also has been outscored 19-7 in the second period this season.
Facing Florida could help Brodeur regain his form. He's 27-9 with seven ties, four shutouts and a 1.96 goals-against average against the Panthers.
A two-time Vezina Trophy winner, Brodeur is third on the all-time list with 450 wins. He may be facing the only active player with more victories.
Ed Belfour made 35 saves, and was backed by two goals from Jozef Stumpel to lead Florida (5-5-1) to a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.
"I'm starting to get in my groove," said the 41-year-old Belfour, who needs one win for 460 in his career. "My timing is better and I'm seeing the puck much better. We definitely needed this win."
Belfour is 4-0 with a 1.50 GAA and a shutout in his last four starts versus New Jersey. Overall, he is 11-7 with nine ties and a 2.09 GAA versus the Devils.
Patrick Roy, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next month, is the all-time leader with 551 wins.
The victory over the Rangers was the Panthers' first in six road games this season. They were just 12-23-6 on the road last season.
"It's huge," Stumpel said. "We needed a good feeling in the locker room about playing on the road."
The Panthers haven't had much success recently in New Jersey. The Devils are 9-3 at home against Florida this decade and are 12-4 overall against Florida over the past four seasons.
The Panthers' offensive output Wednesday was their best since beating Carolina 6-3 on Oct. 11. The Panthers also killed off five of six penalties, two days after allowing five power-play goals in a 6-3 loss to Atlanta.
"Tonight, we got some big goals and some big saves that we haven't been getting," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. "It's so close in the conference that you have to get these wins."
Todd Bertuzzi may miss Thursday's game for Florida. He's sat out the last four with back spasms. Through the first seven games, Bertuzzi has a goal and six assists.
He also has three goals and three assists in his last four games against the Devils.
Florida concludes its three-game road trip against the New York Islanders on Saturday.
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