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newjerseydevils.com – To stretch their winning streak to four games, the Devils will have to get past the East-leading Boston Bruins tonight at Prudential Center (7 p.m., VERSUS, WFAN 660 AM).
Led by the scoring of Patrik Elias and Zach Parise, the Devils also have gotten strong goaltending from Scott Clemmensen to go 12-2-1 in their last 15 games. New Jersey has been red hot in December and looks to win four in a row for the second time this month.
Elias has eight goals and nine assists over his current points streak, which he extended to 10 games Sunday with a tally in New Jersey's 3-2 shootout win over visiting Philadelphia. Parise, the Devils' leading scorer, had an assist on Elias' goal and has collected points in eight of nine games this month.
Jamie Langenbrunner's strike in the third round tied the shootout at 1-1, and kept the Devils alive until Travis Zajac's second-career winner in the fifth round.
Clemmensen made 27 saves in regulation and overtime, then stopped four of five in the shootout for his eighth win in his last nine starts. The former Boston College netminder had won just eight NHL games entering this season, but he's 11-3-1 with a 2.30 goals-against average.
It was the third straight victory for New Jersey (19-9-3), which has allowed 80 goals this season - tied for the second-fewest in the East behind Boston.
"Every time I take the ice, I feel like I have to prove that I can handle anything thrown my way," Clemmensen said. "I just have to be consistent. I think I'm showing that I belong."
The NHL's two longest active points streaks will be on the line tonight. Elias has the second-longest behind Boston's Phil Kessel, who has points in 18 straight (14g-4a).
Kessel is one of the top scoring threats for the Bruins, who enter tonight's contest riding a five-game winning streak.
His emergence has helped spark an explosive Bruins offense, which has scored 29 goals during the team's five-game winning streak. Since the beginning of November, Boston (24-5-4) has averaged 4.2 goals and converted 31.6 percent of its power plays, going 19-2-1.
Blake Wheeler scored twice, David Krejci had three assists and Kessel added a pair as the Bruins opened their five-game trek with a 6-3 win at St. Louis on Sunday. Krejci has totaled three points in three of his last four games.
The Bruins have gotten off to their best start since the 1929-30 season,
Starter Tim Thomas was pulled after allowing five goals in two periods of an 8-5 win over Toronto on Thursday, and Manny Fernandez has picked up two wins since, moving to 11-2-1 this season.
The Bruins went 1-1-2 against New Jersey last season, with a shootout loss and an overtime loss on the road.
Boston will again play without center Patrice Bergeron, who was hospitalized after suffering a concussion Saturday against Carolina. Bergeron missed most of last season with a severe head injury.
with wire services
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