As the saying goes, there's no place like home for the holidays. But the New Jersey Devils look just as comfortable on the road as they do at the Prudential Center.
This week, they'll get a taste of both, as New Jersey plays four games - two on the road and two at home. It's a busy week, with the Devils playing three games in four nights.
New Jersey enters the week looking to continue their run of strong play. Last week, the Devils continued their road trip, playing three games on the road. They went 2-1-0, with wins over the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Devils almost walked away with a clean sheet, but couldn't beat the defending champion Boston Bruins.
The successful week ran their November win-loss record to 6-3-0.
The week began with a 4-3 loss to the Bruins Tuesday night. All the action happened in the third period, where the teams combined to score five goals. Nick Palmieri scored twice for New Jersey, but they couldn't hold Boston off the board. With the game tied, 3-3, late in the third period. Benoit Pouliot scored the game-winning goal. It was a sour ending to a night where the Devils matched the Bruins in every aspect of the game.
An offensive explosion the next night in Buffalo washed away any lingering disappointment. New Jersey defeated Buffalo, 5-3, setting a season high for goals in a game. Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias led the way, collecting two points each. Ilya Kovalchuk, in his first game back from a groin injury, scored on the powerplay. New Jersey scored an even-strength, powerplay and shorthanded goal, chasing Jhonas Enroth in the third period. Martin Brodeur stopped 29 shots for his first road win of the season.
It was also a significant milestone game for Dainius Zubrus. The Lithuanian center played in his 1,000 NHL game.
The Devils continued their winning ways Saturday night in Tampa Bay, winning their second straight road game, 4-2. New Jersey exploded for three goals in the second period, two coming on the powerplay. It was just the second time all season they netted two powerplay goals. Tampa Bay made it interesting in the third period, scoring two goals in the span of a minute to get within one. But a costly turnover by goalie Dwayne Roloson led to a Ryan Carter goal that sealed the victory.
New Jersey steps into this week sitting at 10-7-1. They haven't been able to climb out of fourth place in the Atlantic Division, but they've inched closer to the New York Rangers. They sit two points behind their rivals and four points behind the division leading Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins. New Jersey also sits in a four way tie for eighth place in the conference. It's the first time since the season opener that the Devils hold one of the top eight spots.
Here now is the New Jersey Devils week ahead:
Monday, November 21: New Jersey Devils at Florida Panthers (7:30 p.m., MSG Plus)
The New Jersey Devils finish off their road trip with their second straight game in the Sunshine State. The meeting, the first of the year between the two teams, has been circled on the calendar since the start of the season. Head coach Peter DeBoer, fired by the Panthers last year, gets his first shot at defeating his former team. Carter was placed on waivers by the team this season, and said there's some extra motivation.
"You want to win the game. You want to win every game, but I guess you understand that there's certain games you want to win more," Carter told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "It was a short tenure for me, but you feel a little sting there, so it will be good to win."
Florida has played well early this season, entering Monday's matchup with a 10-6-3 record. Their 23 points put them first in the Southeast Division. Kris Versteeg leads all skaters in goals, assists and points.
Wednesday, November 23: Columbus Blue Jackets at New Jersey Devils (7 p.m., MSG Plus 2)
New Jersey returns home to face a struggling Blue Jackets squad in a pre-Thanksgiving day matchup. Columbus made several player moves this offseason, signing James Wisniewski and trading for Jeff Carter. But they haven't had much of an impact, with the team going just 4-13-2 in their first 19 games. It's the only meeting of the season between the two teams. In 11 games against Columbus, New Jersey is 7-2-1-1. Patrik Elias leads all scorers against the Blue Jackets with eight points (3g, 5a).
Friday, November 25: New Jersey Devils at New York Islanders (3 p.m., MSG Plus 2)
The Devils and Islanders square off in the first game of a home-and-home series at Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders have struggled early this season, entering this week last in the Eastern Conference with 13 points. Injuries are an issue, with the team losing Evgeni Nabakov to a groin injury. They've struggled to score goals, ranking dead last in the league in goals for (35). The Devils will look to improve their divisional record. They enter the matchup 1-2-0 against Atlantic Division opponents.
Saturday, November 26: New York Islanders at New Jersey Devils (1 p.m., MSG Plus 2)
The two teams finish their home-and-home series with another afternoon matinee, this one at the Prudential Center. In 87 all-time games in New Jersey, the Islanders are 45-33-8-1. They've outscored New Jersey, 295-266, something they haven't done on home ice.
Goals: Patrik Elias - 8
Assists: Patrik Elias - 10
Points: Patrik Elias - 18
Plus/Minus: Three players tied - +2
PIM: David Clarkson - 41
Wins: Johan Hedberg - 6
G.A.A.: Johan Hedberg - 2.45
Save Percentage: Johan Hedberg - .914
Shutouts: Johan Hedberg - 1
Next 5 Games
|@ Florida||Mon 11/21||7:30 PM EST|
|Columbus||Wed 11/23||7:00 PM EST|
|@ New York Islanders||Fri 11/25||3:00 PM EST|
|New York Islanders||Sat 11/26||1:00 PM EST|
|@ Colorado||Wed 11/30||9:30 PM EST|
Last 5 Games
|@ Tampa Bay||Sat 11/19||W 4 - 2|
|@ Buffalo||Wed 11/16||7:30 PM EST|
|@ Boston||Tue 11/15||L 3 - 4|
|@ Washington||Sat 11/12||SO - W 3 - 2|
|Washington||Fri 11/11||L 1 - 3|