NJD Preview: Devils at Panthers
Wednesday, 11.26.2008 / 7:30 PM
New Jersey Devils
newjerseydevils.com – The Devils look to extend their season-high winning streak to five games tonight when they take on the Panthers in Florida (7:30 p.m., MSG Plus 2, WFAN 660 AM).
New Jersey (11-7-2) went 1-5-0 in its first six games without Martin Brodeur, who was lost Nov. 1 to a torn biceps. Since that slump, the Devils have relied on offense to put together a win streak, outscoring opponents 20-11 in regulation during their four-game run.
Four of those goals came from Dainius Zubrus on Sunday, as he lifted New Jersey to a 7-3 road victory over Tampa Bay. The center came in with two goals on the season.
"I had chances," Zubrus said. "Since I've played with Brian Gionta and Patrik Elias, I've had more chances than I had before. They just started going in."
Elias added three assists for the Devils - all on Zubrus goals. Gionta also scored and has a goal in four straight games.
"You know what? We're playing hockey," coach Brent Sutter said. "It's going from our dressing room right on to the bench and out onto the ice. We're getting contributions from everybody. Everyone is just doing their job and playing a sound team game, and that's really important and they're being rewarded for it."
Scott Clemmensen has helped stabilize New Jersey in goal, going 3-0-0 with a 2.92 goals-against average during the win streak and posting a 2.60 GAA on the season. The second victory during the Devils' streak came against Florida on Thursday, and Clemmensen stopped 23 shots in a 3-1 win.
While the Devils are surging, the Panthers (8-11-1) earned a 3-2 home victory over Carolina on Monday night to avoid a third consecutive loss. Gregory Campbell's goal snapped a tie late in the second period and Florida made it stand up by allowing only seven shots in the third.
The win turned out to be a somewhat costly one for the Panthers, who lost forward Richard Zednik for several weeks with a left arm injury suffered in the second period. Zednik has three goals and five assists on the season.
The Devils will also be without key players tonight, as center John Madden (sore foot) missed his second straight game Sunday and is day to day. Defenseman Mike Mottau will be completing a two-game suspension for elbowing New York Islanders forward Frans Nielsen on Friday.
The last three matchups between the Devils and Panthers came at Prudential Center. Elias and Gionta each had a goal and an assist in a 3-1 Devils victory over the Panthers last Thursday in Newark.
with wire services
This Date in Devils History
With a 3-3 tie at Anaheim, the Devils extend their unbeaten streak to a franchise record-tying 13 games (10-0-3) on Nov. 26, 2003 Scott Stevens passes former Capitals' teammate Larry Murphy for most appearances (1,616) by a defenseman in NHL history.