NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 20th (All times Eastern)
Anaheim Ducks (24-7-5) at New Jersey Devils (14-15-6), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The rolling Anaheim Ducks will try to match a season- high winning streak when they visit the New Jersey Devils for an interconference battle at Prudential Center.
The Ducks have won six in a row heading into Friday's contest, leaving them one victory shy of a seven-game tear from Oct. 5-20. Despite the recent hot streak and a stellar 24-7-5 record this season, Anaheim is only one point ahead of Los Angeles for first place in the Pacific Division. The Ducks have a chance to extend that lead on Friday, as the Kings are idle tonight.
Anaheim has scored five goals on three occasions during its current winning streak, including Tuesday's 5-2 road triumph against the Detroit Red Wings. Jakob Silfverberg scored in his return to the lineup as the red-hot Ducks cruised past the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Silfverberg was back in action after a 24-game absence because of a broken hand.
Sami Vatanen, Saku Koivu, Corey Perry and Nick Bonino also lit the lamp in the rout, while Jonas Hiller only needed to stop 16 shots for the win.
Despite the strong effort, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau was careful not to read too much into Tuesday's win over Detroit.
"We took advantage of a team that was hurting," Boudreau warned. "Listen, we beat Detroit 5-2 in the first game we played them last year, too. How'd it end up? It's just ... that was no way the Detroit Red Wings that you're going to see in January."
The win over the Red Wings was Anaheim's third straight road victory and it came at the start of a four-game tour of Eastern Conference clubs. The Ducks have built a decent 11-7-3 record as the guest this season, but that pales in comparison to Anaheim's stellar 13-0-2 mark on home ice.
The Devils enter Friday on a more modest two-game winning streak, but another victory tonight would give New Jersey just its second three-win stretch of the season. Peter DeBoer's club previously won three in a row from Nov. 16-21.
After opening a three-game homestand with Saturday's 3-0 victory over Tampa Bay, the Devils notched Wednesday's 5-2 win against the Ottawa Senators. The back-to-back wins as the host improved New Jersey's home record this season to 7-5-3.
Damien Brunner and Eric Gelinas each posted a goal and assist to help the Devils down the Senators on Wednesday. Stephen Gionta and Reid Boucher lit the lamp for the Devils, but Jaromir Jagr grabbed the spotlight by scoring the 693rd goal of his storied NHL career. Jagr's 12th tally of the season moved him past Steve Yzerman into eighth place on the NHL's all-time goals list.
Martin Brodeur, who like Jagr is a sure-fire future Hall of Famer, made 23 stops to help the Devils earn their third win in five games.
"Liked the win, liked the goals -- I liked our effort," said DeBoer. "I thought we showed up and played a real solid game."
After capping a homestand tonight, the Devils will play two straight and three of their next four games as the guest.
Anaheim has not fared well as the road team in this series, losing two straight and eight of nine when visiting the Devils. If you count the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals matchup between the Ducks and Devils, New Jersey has won 13 of the 15 all-time encounters in the Garden State. The Devils won that series in seven games, as every contest in the series was claimed by the home team.
New Jersey also has won four straight in this series since the Ducks last beat them in Anaheim on Jan. 11. 2009.
12/20 10:49:49 ET