Buffalo
Sabres
53-22-7
New Jersey
Devils
49-24-9

24 SOG
33 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
BUF
NJD
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Sabres-Devils Preview

Tuesday, 12.12.2006 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

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Buffalo Sabres vs. New Jersey Devils

Thanks to a strong defense and a star goalie, the New Jersey Devils are in the midst of their longest winning streak of the season.

The Devils try for their sixth straight victory on Tuesday when they host the Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo Sabres.

New Jersey (17-9-2) beat the Boston Bruins 5-1 on Saturday for its first five-game winning streak since closing out the 2005-06 regular season with 11 straight victories. The Devils have allowed just seven goals during their current streak.

"It's not rocket science. It's smart hockey. It's Devils' hockey, I guess," defenseman Colin White said. "With (goaltender Martin Brodeur) back there, we rely on him most of the year."

The Devils rank among the best in the league with just 2.36 goals allowed per game. Brodeur, who has started each game during the winning streak, owns a 2.19 goals-against average and has recorded all 17 of his team's wins.

New Jersey is 14-2-1 when scoring first this season.

"If we can get a lead and we have (Marty) back there, we know we have a chance," right wing Brian Gionta said.

Jay Pandolfo and Jamie Langenbrunner had first-period goals and Erik Rasmussen, Patrik Elias and Sergei Brylin each scored in the third period against the Bruins. New Jersey's winning streak comes on the heels of a season-high four-game losing streak.

"They're a tough team to come back against, I know that," Boston coach Dave Lewis said. "You've got to get a lot of quality chances to get it past Marty Brodeur, especially with the way they play with their system and discipline."

New Jersey will defend its winning streak on its home ice, where the team is 11-1-1 this season. The Devils have also earned at least one point in 13 of their last 14 games against the Sabres, going 10-1-3 against them over that span.

The Sabres (22-5-2) are coming off Saturday's 3-2 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens. Buffalo, which lost 3-1 at Florida on Thursday, has not lost consecutive games this season.

"From a structure standpoint, our game was so much better than it was the other night," said Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff, whose team is 6-1 in shootouts this season.

Defenseman Teppo Numminen did not play after breaking a right toe against the Panthers. Numminen, who is listed as day-to-day, said he hoped to miss only two games but was not sure when he would return.

"If you break a bone, it's four to six weeks," Numminen said. "I don't know what it is but with a toe you can see how it feels in the skate. I haven't talked to the doctors yet, but I'm sure it's not going to be that long."

Andrej Sekera was called up from Rochester of the AHL to replace Numminen and made his NHL debut on Saturday.

Forward Maxim Afinogenov, who leads the Sabres with 21 assists, missed practice Monday because of a sore groin, but is expected to play Tuesday.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 28 '07NJD 3 at BUF 4A. Kotalik
Mar 10 '07NJD 3 at BUF 2B. Rafalski
Feb 03 '07BUF 2 at NJD 3Z. Parise
Dec 12 '06BUF 3 at NJD 2J. Pominville
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
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