DALLAS TX - FEBRUARY 22: Goaltender Kari Lehtonen #32 of the Dallas Stars makes a save against Nick Palmieri #32 of the New Jersey Devils at American Airlines Center on February 22 2011 in Dallas Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The New Jersey Devils finished last season with a 16-23-2 record on the road. That included an 11 game losing streak and helped keep New Jersey out of the postseason.
They've started this season 1-2-0 on the road with two lackluster performances. They'll finish up their four game road trip tonight against the surprising Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center, looking to come home with a .500 record. Game time is 8 p.m. and will be on MSG.
After a solid performance in Tuesday's 3-0 shutout win over the Los Angeles Kings, the Devils allowed five goals in a 5-3 loss against the Phoenix Coyotes Tuesday. New Jersey was outshot 42-34, allowing 34 shots in the first and second periods. Devils head coach Peter DeBoer wouldn't put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Johan Hedberg.
"I thought he was good," DeBoer told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "They were shooting from everywhere. They had a lot of speed, especially early. I think they had 19 or 20 shots in the first period. I thought after that we did a little bit of a better job. We've got to protect him [Hedberg] a little bit more. They used their speed tonight and we didn't slow them down and that's our fault."
New Jersey has allowed nine goals in their previous two road losses. They've been outscored 9-7 on the road this season. With 15 of their next 21 games coming on the road, New Jersey will need to improve their road game.
Defenseman Andy Greene admitted the stretch could be a good thing for the team, but presents it's own dangers.
"It can be both, I guess," he told Gulitti. "We get to be on the road early and find the game we want to play, tight road games, play our game. This gives us a chance to work on that. Especially young guys, it gets them comfortable playing on the road in different environments."
New Jersey will face a Stars team that has sprinted out of the gates. Dallas currently leads the Pacific Division with a 7-3-0 record. Kari Lehtonen is among the league leaders in save percentage (.945) and is tied with Marc-Andre Fleury for the league lead with seven wins. In 11 career starts against New Jersey, Lehtonen is 6-5-0-0 with a 3.02 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.
Jamie Benn leads all Stars skaters with nine points. Loui Ericksson holds the team lead with five goals.