NJD Preview: Devils at Sabres
Wednesday, 12.17.2008 / 7:00 PM
New Jersey Devilsnewjerseydevils.com –
The Devils look to prevent their first three-game slide in more than a month tonight, when they battle the Sabres in Buffalo (7 p.m., MSG Plus, WFAN 660 AM).
The Devils (16-9-3) owned a four-game winning streak entering Saturday, but fell 4-2 at home to the Sabres (15-12-3). On Tuesday, they lost 3-2 in a shootout at Toronto as goalie Scott Clemmensen allowed two of four Maple Leafs to score in the tiebreaker.
"Not much you can do as a goalie, he's coming one way and kind of backs into you," Clemmensen said after suffering just his second loss in his last 10 starts.
New Jersey hit a season-high four-game losing streak from Nov. 8-14, but responded with nine wins in their following 10 games. Despite its recent stumble, New Jersey has amassed 19 of a possible 24 points in 13 games (9-2-1) since Nov. 15.
For the Devils to regroup, they'll hope to end a recent stretch of futility against the Sabres. They've lost three in a row to Buffalo, including both meetings this season.
The Devils are closing out their second of four back-to-backs this month with their fifth game in the last eight days.
On Saturday, Thomas Vanek scored twice and Derek Roy added a goal and an assist as the Sabres earned their fourth win in five games, rallying from a 2-1 second-period deficit.
Vanek - the league leader with 24 goals - has recorded 10 of his team-best 29 points in the last 10 games.
New Jersey defenseman Andy Greene
was activated from injured reserve Tuesday, but was not in the lineup versus Toronto. He has missed 19 games with a broken hand.
The Sabres will be without captain Craig Rivet (shoulder) and rookie forward Nathan Gerbe (upper body injury) on Wednesday, they will have winger Patrick Kaleta back after he missed seven contests with a head and neck injury.
New Jersey has been dealing with a major injury of its own for the bulk of the season. Four-time Vezina Trophy-winner and future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur
went down with a torn biceps Nov. 1 and is expected to miss at least two more months.
In his place, Clemmensen has compiled a 2.43 goals-against average in winning eight of 10 starts. He won his only start against Buffalo in October 2005.
Backup Kevin Weekes made 30 saves versus the Sabres on Saturday, but has lost five straight starts against them.
New Jersey has been getting outstanding production from winger Patrik Elias
, who has 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in his last 13 games. He had a goal against the Sabres in Saturday's loss.
with wire services