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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, March 7th (All times Eastern)
New Jersey Devils (27-23-13) at Detroit Red Wings (28-21-13), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Jersey Devils will try to earn their second straight win over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night and further tighten the race for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
New Jersey recorded a 4-3 regulation victory over a visiting Detroit club on Tuesday, as Stephen Gionta scored with 36.6 seconds remaining in the third period to lift the Devils.
That victory gave the Devils 67 points, putting them two back of Detroit and the Columbus Blue Jackets for the league's second wild card spot. The Washington Capitals are also in the mix at one point off the pace.
Heading into Tuesday's game, it appeared the contest could be goaltender Martin Brodeur's last game in a Devils' sweater but the future Hall of Famer was not traded before Wednesday's trade deadline as some had suspected.
The 41-year-old Brodeur, who recently has been relegated to a part-time role behind Cory Schneider, stopped 20-of-23 shots to pick up the win and push his NHL-record total to 684 victories.
However, Schneider will be back between the pipes on Friday. The 27-year-old is 1-2-0 with a 1.85 goals against average and .938 save percentage in four career games versus the Red Wings.
Marek Zidlicky, Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique all scored for New Jersey before Gionta won the tilt in the final minute of regulation.
Beginning with Friday's tilt the Devils are playing four of their next five games on the road, where Jersey is 12-15-6 this season.
The Devils and Red Wings have split a pair of meetings so far in 2013-14, with Detroit earning a road victory back on Dec. 6. The Red Wings have taken seven of the past 10 encounters in this series overall and 10 of its past 12 tilts in the Motor City.
Detroit followed up Tuesday's game versus New Jersey with a second straight loss, falling 3-2 in overtime to the Colorado Avalanche Thursday on a night the Red Wings retired the No. 5 jersey of former defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.
Niklas Kronwall and Tomas Jurco scored for Detroit, while Jimmy Howard made 22 saves.
"I thought we did a lot of great things here tonight," said Howard. "It's important to remember we still got a point. It keeps us in the race here. It doesn't matter, every single night we've got to find a way to get points."
It is unknown if Howard will get the start on back-to-back nights or if Jonas Gustavsson will get the call in net.
Howard is 1-2-0 with a 2.36 GAA in his career versus the Devils, while Gustavsson is 4-1-1 with a 2.60 GAA in seven previous meetings.
03/07 10:40:12 ET
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