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New Jersey will try to extend its winning streak to 10 games and beat their rivals as they play the Rangers, who are trying to avoid a four-game losing streak, on Sunday at Madison Square Garden (5 p.m., FSN NY, Bloomberg 1130 AM).
The Devils (16-10-2) appear to have found their rhythm after a 7-10-2 start. The club beat Washington 3-2 Friday for its ninth straight win, tying the third-longest run in franchise history. The Devils have won five straight on the road and allowed just 14 goals during the nine-game streak.
Goalie Martin Brodeur, whose 500th career victory triggered the winning streak, has started all nine games. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner started the season 5-10-1 with a 2.74 goals-against average and .892 save percentage, but has compiled a 1.53 GAA and .940 save percentage in the nine victories.
The offense has also awakened. After averaging just 2.2 goals in the first 19 games, the Devils have 3.4 per game in the last nine. Zach Parise has 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) over the span, while Brian Gionta has at least one point in eight of the nine games.
Gionta had an assist in Friday's victory as the Devils took a 2-0 first-period lead and held off a third-period rally by the Capitals.
The Rangers (15-12-2) have allowed just three goals to the Devils in their three wins, including a 4-2 road victory Nov. 14 in the most recent meeting. New York's Nigel Dawes has three of his four goals this season against New Jersey, which closed last season with four straight wins over New York, including two by shootout.
Overall, four of the teams' last eight games against each other have gone to shootouts.
The Rangers' current slump has been the result of some uncharacteristic defensive struggles. Before the recent swoon, New York had allowed fewer goals than any team in hockey.
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist allowed eight total goals in losses to Carolina and Toronto, and was pulled after the second period against the Maple Leafs.
Backup Stephen Valiquette didn't fare much better, allowing two goals on six shots in the third period of the 6-2 loss to Toronto, then conceding three goals on just 22 shots in a spot start for Lundqvist in a 4-2 loss to Atlanta Friday.
Chris Drury scored his 200th career goal in the game, while defenseman Paul Mara returned after missing three games with a shoulder injury.
Scott Gomez, who signed as a free agent with the Rangers in the offseason after spending his first seven seasons with the Devils, has a team-high 22 points. Gomez had two assists in the most recent meeting and also scored a goal in the 2-1 shootout victory Nov. 3.