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The New Jersey Devils needed shootouts to win their last two games. They hope to take care of business more easily and look to win their fourth straight overall when they host the struggling Florida Panthers on Saturday.
The Devils (9-5-1) keep finding ways to win despite ranking near the bottom of the NHL with 34 goals scored. They have managed only seven total goals during their current three-game winning streak.
"If we can start hitting the net a little more with guys going to the front, hopefully some pucks will start going in," Devils coach Claude Julien said. "Then we won't have to go to shootouts."
Zach Parise and Brian Gionta each scored in the shootout and goaltender Martin Brodeur was perfect against two shooters in the Devils' 2-1 win over Chicago on Thursday. New Jersey, which also beat Carolina 3-2 in a shootout on Tuesday, has won three of its four shootouts this season.
Gionta has a team-leading seven goals on the season, while Parise has six. Thirty-one NHL players already have more than seven goals.
The Devils have shined defensively, though, allowing four goals in their last three games.
Brodeur, who has been in net for each game of the current streak, has been stellar all season. The 34-year-old veteran has already posted three shutouts, including a 2-0 win over Florida on Oct. 26 when he faced 29 shots.
Parise and Patrik Elias each scored goals in the Oct. 26 meeting, the game that started Florida's recent struggles.
Florida (6-7-3) has won only once in its last six games. On Friday, the Panthers blew an early two-goal lead and lost 5-4 in overtime to Buffalo.
Steve Montador scored his first goal of the season late in the third period to force overtime, while Gary Roberts, Ruslan Salei and Joe Nieuwendyk also scored for the Panthers.
Roberts was whistled for a holding penalty late in the third that carried over into overtime. He received an additional two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty following Thomas Vanek's game-winner for Buffalo, along with a 10-minute misconduct and a gross misconduct.
Roberts, who is expected to play Saturday, would not comment on the infractions.
Florida goaltender Alex Auld made 21 saves Friday night, but suffered his sixth consecutive defeat.
"It's frustrating not to get the win when we came back like that and took it to overtime," Auld said.
Veteran goaltender Ed Belfour didn't start in the last meeting against New Jersey, but went 3-0 with a 2.00 GAA against the Devils last season while with Toronto.
The Panthers hope to snap a four-game losing streak at New Jersey. They have not won at the Meadowlands since a 2-1 victory on Oct. 22, 2003.
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