Skip to main content

Devils hope to end slide against Penguins

By Kate Hedlin

Stats Writer

New Jersey (47-25-4) at Pittsburgh (41-27-8) 7:30 p.m. EDT

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The New Jersey Devils are hardly playing like

a team that had been in contention for the top spot in the

Eastern Conference. The Pittsburgh Penguins, meanwhile, are

poised to go into the postseason as one of the league's hottest


The Penguins close an eight-game homestand and Sidney Crosby

looks to extend a 15-game point streak Wednesday when they host

the Devils, who are looking to avoid their longest skid in more

than eight years.

Crosby scored the go-ahead goal with 10:04 remaining in a 4-3

win over the New York Rangers on Saturday, extending the NHL's

longest active point streak to 14 games. He has eight goals and

17 assists during that stretch, which goes back to February 16.

"He's a go-to guy," said teammate Max Talbot, who had a goal and

an assist. "He always wants those big goals, and he got it

again. It's definitely two huge points for us."

Crosby's latest effort lifted the Penguins (41-27-8) to their

fifth win in six games, part of a 12-1-2 stretch since February

25. They've moved into sixth place in the East, one point back

of Carolina and two behind fourth-place Philadelphia for

home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The Penguins, who went 6-1-2 to end last season when they

reached the Stanley Cup finals, play four of their final six

games on the road.

"I think as a team we've been playing well, and we just need to

continue playing well in the last six games and into the

playoffs," left wing Ruslan Fedotenko said. "That's the most

important thing, to get on kind of a hot streak going into the


While the Penguins appear to be surging toward the postseason,

New Jersey (47-25-4) is slumping despite having already clinched

a playoff spot.

The Devils have dropped five straight late in the season for a

second consecutive year - they went on to lose in the first

round of the 2008 playoffs.

"This group tried to turn a switch on last year. It didn't

work," coach Bruce Sutter said. "They can say they're a

different group, but a lot of the personnel is still the same.

"You get to a point where you say, 'Where is our commitment?

Where is our compete level?"

The last time the Devils went winless in a six-game span was in

November 2001, and they haven't lost six in a row since November


Before this 0-4-1 skid began, New Jersey was alone in second

place in the East and within three points of conference-leading

Boston. Now the No. 1 seed is nearly out of reach for the Devils

and they've dropped to third place, one point behind Washington.

Martin Brodeur has been in net for all five losses, giving up 16

goals, after going 9-1-0 with a 1.75 goals-against average in 10

starts following his return from an elbow injury that caused him

to miss 50 games.

"It's not fun," Brodeur said after Monday's 3-0 loss to the

Rangers. "It's the time of the year you need to play well, to

win games, to advance and to feel good about yourself. Right

now, it's not the case for us. We're doubting how we do stuff

out there. We have six games left and we have to find a way to

get through this."

Now Brodeur hopes to cool off Crosby, who has four goals and two

assists versus the Devils this season - all in two games.

Pittsburgh is 2-1-2 against New Jersey this season.


Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings Face Buy-or-Sell Decision for Trade Deadline

Adam Proteau says the Detroit Red Wings should play it safe ahead of the NHL's trade deadline despite still being in the playoff race.

Kirill Marchenko

Fantasy Weekend Rundown: Streamers Before NHL All-Star Break

It’s the last weekend before the NHL all-star break, so Saturday’s busy with a two-game Sunday. Jason Chen finds players to stream for fantasy hockey.

Ilya Mikheyev

Canucks in Flux: Ilya Mikheyev Is Shut Down as Team's Break Begins

The Vancouver Canucks are 2-1-0 under new coach Rick Tocchet after Friday's win, but Ilya Mikheyev is now done for the season to rehab an ACL injury.