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Devils continue to cope without Brodeur against Oilers

Edmonton (6-6-1) at New Jersey (7-4-2), 7:30 pm EDT

NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Goaltender Kevin Weekes and the

New Jersey Devils continue to cope with the absence of four-time

Vezina Trophy winner Martin Brodeur when they host the Edmonton

Oilers on Sunday.

Starting his third straight game in the wake of Brodeur's elbow

injury, Weekes turned aside 28 shots in the Devils' 3-1 loss to

the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings on

Saturday. Despite his efforts, they failed to notch their first

win in Detroit since posting a 2-0 victory on November 6, 1996,

and dropped their eighth straight visit to Joe Louis Arena.

Brodeur's brilliance has been missed, but it has been the

offense that has plagued the Devils of late. They have dropped

five of their last seven games after winning five of their first

six.

After being shut out by the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, New Jersey

barely got past the Tampa Bay Lightning two days later, posting

a 4-3 victory in a shootout.

Zach Parise has been the only consistent force on offense for

the Devils, and it showed against the Wings as he scored their

lone goal against Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood. Parise's

10th goal of the season snapped a three-game goalless streak and

forged a tie before Marian Hossa struck for the second time to

secure the victory.

Not only did the Devils lose another contest, they also may have

lost another key contributor to injury. Right wing Brian Gionta

crashed into the boards in the right corner after sustaining a

hard hit from Red Wings defenseman Derek Meech midway through

the second period and did not return. His status for this game

is uncertain.

New Jersey also has been without Brian Rolston (high right ankle

sprain), Bobby Holik (broken right pinky), Pierre-Luc

Letourneau-Leblond (cracked orbital bone), defensemen Andy

Greene (broken right hand) and Paul Martin (upper body

soreness).

Edmonton's defense has negated its strong offensive showing of

late. The Oilers have dropped two straight and seven of nine.

The Oilers have averaged four goals per game in their last four,

but have surrendered just a shade under that mark. Consecutive

5-4 losses to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins

on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, haven't helped their

cause on the defensive end.

Prior to those shortcomings, they edged the Philadelphia Flyers,

5-4, and defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-1, in back-to-back

games last weekend.

Oilers right wing Ales Hemsky has points in seven consecutive

games on the road, recording four goals and five assists in that

span. The 25-year-old has scored in three straight contests

overall.

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