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newjerseydevils.com – The Devils hope to snap a four-game losing streak to their metropolitan-area rivals on Friday night when they meet the New York Rangers at Prudential Center (7 p.m., FSN NY, WFAN 660 AM).
New Jersey (28-19-3) has failed to win in nine games this season against its two biggest rivals - the Rangers and New York Islanders. Despite that 0-6-3 record, New Jersey, which is 0-2-2 against the Rangers, is only two points behind Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia.
One bad period has cost the Devils in each of their last two games. They allowed three second-period goals in a 4-2 loss to visiting Pittsburgh on Tuesday after they were outshot 20-3 in the third period of a 4-3 defeat to Montreal in the previous contest.
Mike Rupp scored his first two goals of the season for the Devils, who have lost four of six overall, with each defeat coming at home. The Devils have scored only seven goals in those losses.
"We haven't stayed within our game. We've had mental breakdowns," coach Brent Sutter said. "When our team is playing well it is because our detail to our game is very good. Right now it isn't where it needs to be."
Sutter hopes to have captain Jamie Langenbrunner back Friday. Langenbrunner, tied for fourth on the team with 26 points, sat out Tuesday with flu-like symptoms.
Zach Parise and Brian Gionta - New Jersey's leading scorers - have combined for no goals and one assist this season against the Rangers.
Henrik Lundqvist has been in net for all four Rangers' wins this season against New Jersey, allowing only three goals while recording two shutouts and a 0.78 goals-against average. Lundqvist is 9-2-3 with a 1.46 GAA in 14 career starts versus the Devils.
New York (25-22-6) didn't miss its No. 1 goaltender on Thursday as backup Stephen Valiquette stopped 20 shots for his first career shutout in a 4-0 win over the Flyers.
The seldom-used backup blanked a Philadelphia team that hadn't scored fewer than three goals in a game since Jan. 4. Valiquette recorded his third win of the season and his first shutout in 21 career appearances.
The win moved New York out of last place in the Atlantic and within five points of the Flyers.
with wire services
Devils Poster Night, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.
Make your plans now for Devils Poster Night tomorrow night at Prudential Center!
The Devils will host the Los Angeles Kings for a 7 p.m. start, and all fans 13 & under will take home a poster featuring team captain Jamie Langenbrunner, courtesy of the New Jersey Education Association.
Tickets for all upcoming Devils games are available by visiting the arena box office Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., by clicking here to purchase online, or by calling Ticketmaster Charge by Phone: NJ (201) 507-8900 - NY: (212) 307-7171.