Inquirer Daily News

Devils host Blues aiming to avoid another 3-game slide

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Jersey Devils will try to avoid their second three-game losing streak of the month when they host the St. Louis Blues in Tuesday's battle at Prudential Center.

The Devils opened January on an 0-2-1 slide before winning two straight. However, the club went 1-1-2 on a recent four-game road trip, dropping the final two tilts of that swing at Colorado and Phoenix.

New Jersey hopes to turn things around when it plays the first of two straight at the Rock before being the designated host against the New York Rangers in Sunday's outdoor game at Yankee Stadium.

The Devils are 10-6-6 in Newark this season and have won two straight as the host.

Jersey capped its recent trek with a 3-2 loss at Phoenix. The Devils fell behind 2-0 in the opening period and were never able to catch the Coyotes after that.

New Jersey received a power-play marker from Ryane Clowe and Jaromir Jagr scored late in the third. Martin Brodeur allowed all three goals on 27 shots in the loss.

"We got off to a slow start and that was disappointing, inexcusable really for not having played yesterday," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "We can't spot anyone two goals. That's the bottom line."

Clowe has been a bright spot for the Devils lately, notching two goals and seven assists over his last seven games. The forward was off to a dreadful start to this season after signing a five-year, $24.25 million deal with New Jersey in the offseason and Clowe still only has 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) in 18 games in 2013-14.

Cory Schneider will get the start in net for the Devils tonight and is 2-1-1 with a 1.96 goals against average in four career outings against the Blues.

Devils forward Damien Brunner could return to action on Tuesday after missing the last 14 games due to an injured right knee. Brunner has eight goals and five assists in 32 games this season.

St. Louis has won three straight and four of its last five games in the series against the Devils. The Blues have won their last three tilts in New Jersey and haven't lost on the road in this series since Dec. 10, 2002 when the Devils still played at the Meadowlands.

The Blues halted a two-game slide and won for just the second time in five games when they opened a four-game road trip with Monday's 4-1 victory in Detroit.

Jaroslav Halak stopped 22 shots to help St. Louis record the win over the Red Wings, while Barret Jackman, Jay Bouwmeester, Kevin Shattenkirk and Magnus Paajarvi all scored for the Blues.

"The first two periods we played the way we had to," said St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock. "We kept the puck in their zone a lot and got a high volume of shots on net."

St. Louis left wing Alexander Steen hasn't scored a goal in two games since returning from a month-long absence due to a concussion, but he did have two assists in Monday's game. Steen is leading the Blues with 24 goals and is second on the team with 40 points.

The Blues are 15-5-3 as the road team this season and will also visit the New York Rangers and Islanders before closing this swing.

01/21 11:07:36 ET