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newjerseydevils.com – The Devils look for their first three-game winning streak of the season when they face the red-hot Thrashers tonight in Atlanta (7:30 p.m., FSN NY, WFAN 660 AM).
On Wednesday, Zach Parise's two power-play goals propelled the Devils (9-10-2) to a 2-1 victory in Pittsburgh for the club's second win in a row, and third straight road win.
Colin White returned to the lineup after missing the first 20 games of the season with an eye-area injury, and logged crucial minutes on the Devils' penalty kill, which went 4-for-4 against the high-flying Penguins.
Martin Brodeur stopped 25 shots, improving to 7-10-1 with career win No. 501. Brodeur will try to hold the opposition to two goals or fewer for the ninth time in 11 games.
"What can you say?" said Parise, who leads New Jersey with 20 points and four power-play goals. "Some of the saves he made were unbelievable. That's why he is the best right there."
Brodeur is 14-6-4 with three ties and a 2.19 goals-against average in 27 starts against Atlanta, but he is 2-4-4 with a 3.34 GAA in the last 10 meetings.
Brodeur said no longer having the distraction of trying to reach the 500-career win milestone, achieved Saturday at Philadelphia, has helped the veteran netminder regain his focus.
"Every time I'd go somewhere before, it (No. 500) was brought up to me," said Brodeur, who is 50 wins shy of Patrick Roy's all-time record of 551. "Now that I got it in the books, it's definitely nice. There's bigger and better things ahead, but that won't be for a while. Right now I can just play hockey and we can just try to get back on the right track."
The Devils prevailed in their only previous meeting this season with the Thrashers, a 6-5 win at Philips Arena on Oct. 13. Patrik Elias scored twice, and broke a 5-5 tie on a power-play goal with 27 seconds left in regulation.
It was the fifth loss of the Thrashers' season-opening six-game skid. Since then, Atlanta has gone 11-5 and the club enters tonight's contest riding a four-game winning streak.
"The puck ends up in your net when things aren't going right," Atlanta center Todd White said. "We worked ourselves out of it."
Ilya Kovalchuk has 13 goals and eight assists in nine games this month, including two goals and two assists in a 5-1 road win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. Kovalchuk's 19 goals lead the NHL.
This is the first of three games remaining in November for the Thrashers as Kovalchuk tries to break the team record for most goals in one month. His 13 have tied the mark set by Dany Heatley in January 2003 and matched by Kovalchuk in November 2005.
The left wing has five goals and seven assists during his four-game point streak. Kovalchuk has 11 goals and six assists in 18 career games against New Jersey, with at least one point each of the last eight meetings.
Marian Hossa has six goals and seven assists during a franchise record-tying run of six straight multipoint games. He had just three goals and three assists in 12 games before that streak began.
The veteran right wing missed the first meeting with the Devils because of a sore groin, but has nine goals and six assists in his last 13 games against them.
Also providing a lift recently for the Thrashers is Johan Hedberg, who is 6-0-0 with a 2.11 goals-against average in seven appearances since losing at Nashville on Oct. 25. He has won all three of his home starts this season.
Hedberg, though, has lost each of his last four games versus the Devils, falling to 2-4-0 with a 2.62 GAA in six appearances against them.