Devils open homestand against Jets
Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 9:12 AM
JETS (21-19-5) at DEVILS (25-17-2)
WFAN 660 AM
Winnipeg 5-5-0, New Jersey 6-3-1.
Season series --
This will be the fourth and final meeting of the season and second in four days. The Devils have won two of the three games so far, taking a 2-1 decision on Saturday at MTS Centre in Winnipeg. The Devils received goals from Kurtis Foster
and Patrik Elias
in a span of 2:58 midway through the third period to rally from a one-goal deficit on Saturday.
Big story --
The Devils begin a six-game homestand after closing out a 3-1-0 four-game road swing -- yielding just three goals in their three victories. In fact, the Devils will play seven of their next eight games at "The Rock" in Newark, where they have gone 11-7-1 this season. Despite injuries to key players, the Devils have quietly climbed into sixth place in the Eastern Conference after winning four of their last five contests. They are just four points behind fifth-seeded Ottawa.
The Jets snapped their three-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over the red-hot Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on Monday behind Chris Mason's 25 saves. Mason, who made 14 saves in the third, earned his fifth win in six starts while notching his second shutout of the season. Defenseman Tobias Enstrom had a goal and a plus-2 rating while logging a team-high 24:35 of ice time in the triumph.
While the team did earn the victory on Monday, it was the 24th time this season that Winnipeg failed to score more than two goals. The Jets have won just seven of those 24 games. Winnipeg has gone 2-5-0 in the month of January after fashioning an impressive 10-3-1 ledger in December.
Rookie center Adam Henrique
missed Saturday's game with a groin pull that's not believed to be serious. As a result, the Devils were missing three centers against the Jets -- Henrique, Travis Zajac
and Jacob Josefson
. In Henrique's absence, Dainius Zubrus
moved from right wing on the second line to center on the first with Zach Parise
and Ilya Kovalchuk
. David Clarkson
was then moved up a line with center Elias and left wing Petr Sykora
. Devils coach Peter DeBoer on Monday named Martin Brodeur
his starter against the Jets.
Who's hot --
Elias has 3 goals and 7 points during a five-game point streak. He's produced 21 points in his last 19 games.
Injury report --
The Devils are without forwards Henrique (groin strain) and Zajac (sore left Achilles tendon) and defenseman Andy Greene
(fractured left foot). Henrique returned to the ice Monday before Devils practice but did not return for the team's regular session that followed. Josefson is currently on rehab assignment in AHL Albany. … Winnipeg defenseman Zach Bogosian has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury. Blake Wheeler (throat), who took a slap shot to the neck against the Devils on Saturday, is out for Tuesday's game. Defensemen Derek Meech (groin) and Dustin Byfuglien (knee) are on injured reserve.
Stat pack --
Winnipeg forward Evander Kane is fourth in the NHL with 165 shots on goal, but hasn't scored a goal in seven games -- his last coming Dec. 29 vs. the Los Angeles Kings. He's still tied for 17th overall in the League with 18 goals.
Puck drop --
The Devils notched their 25th win of the season on Saturday against the Jets. Last season, the club didn't celebrate win No. 25 until Feb. 19, boosting their overall mark to 25-30-4 at that time.