Even with a four-game win streak, New Jersey Devils' head coach Jacques Lemaire still worries about his team's effort.
"Let's say I'm anxious to see what's coming up, what will be the weather in the game," Lemaire told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "It always depends on the weather. When the weather is good, the team plays better."
New Jersey is hoping for smooth sailing as they look to extend their win streak against the Detroit Red Wings tonight at Joe Louis Arena.
The Devils come into tonight's matchup surging, with the team finally playing competitive hockey. In their past seven games, the offense produced 28 goals. The defense play improved dramatically, allowing only 13 goals.
Individuals also improved their play dramatically. Martin Brodeur, who looked average for much of the season, is 5-0-1 in his last six games. Ilya Kovalchuk recorded three points in his last two games, and Brian Rolston produced nine points in his past seven games.
"Our game is improving," Lemaire said to Gulitti. "I mentioned I didn't like the whole game last game, but overall I'm very pleased the last couple of weeks with that the guys have been doing. They've been focusing on what we're asking and they've been doing the job."
The Devils extended their win streak to four after defeating the Florida Panthers, 5-2, Sunday at the Prudential Center. After a strong first period, New Jersey's level of play significantly dropped. The team misfired on passes and struggled with their break out. It took a big effort from Brodeur, who allowed two goals on 19 shots in the second and third periods combined, to keep Florida from taking the lead.
"You could tell we were off a little bit," defenseman Andy Greene told Gulitti. "At the same time, we found a way to win, which is good. Obviously, you can't have your best game every night, but we can have a better effort and a little bit more discipline in our system and all that."
Detroit brings an injured and inconsistent squad into tonight's matchup. Just 3-3-1 in their last seven games, the Red Wings carry a laundry list on injured stars, including Pavel Datsyuk. Despite their issues, Detroit sits second overall in the Western Conference.
If the Devils win, they will have their first five-game win streak since December 12 to December 21 of 2009.