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Devils seek fifth straight win

Montreal (27-12-6) at New Jersey (28-15-3), 7:00 p.m. EST

NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Devils have the

chance to be in a position that seemed unattainable when Martin

Brodeur went down with an injury back in November - first place

at the All-Star break.

If the Devils extend their winning streak to five games by

defeating the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, they will finish

the first half of the season atop the Atlantic Division.

New Jersey is one point behind the idle New York Rangers, but

will have to solve All-Star netminder Carey Price if it plans on

leaping over its rival in the standings.

A four-time Vezina Trophy winner, Brodeur has been out since

suffering a torn distal biceps tendon in his elbow during a 6-1

win over the Atlanta Thrashers on November 1. The rousing play

of career backup Scott Clemmensen has kept New Jersey afloat.

The 31-year-old Clemmensen, who has surrendered one goal in each

of his last two starts, is 18-9-1 with a 2.30 goals-against

average in 29 games.

All-Star Zach Parise looks to punctuate a stellar first half

that has seen him accumulate 27 goals and 26 assists in 46

games. The 24-year-old also helped the Devils notch a 5-1-0

record on their recent season-long, six-game road trip.

Montreal, which has won six of eight, is coming off a 4-2

setback against the Thrashers on Tuesday. Price made his return

to the ice after an eight-game layoff caused by a sprained right

ankle, but not in the way the Canadiens had hoped.

After backup Jaroslav Halak coughed up three goals, Price

entered the game early in the second period but was not able to

extend Montreal's two-game winning run.

For the Canadiens, who have dropped two of three on the road,

this marks the third contest of a five-game trek.


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