The New Jersey Devils (28-31-4) need points to continue their miracle run for a playoff berth.
A matchup against the Sidney Crosby-less Pittsburgh Penguins (37-21-7) provides them with yet another opportunity to pull closer to the postseason.
The Devils will look to win their sixth straight at home tonight against a struggling Pens team at the Prudential Center.
New Jersey enters tonight's game 10 points behind the New York Rangers for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Their second half surge - 18-2-2 in the past 22 games - propelled them from last in the league to 12th in the conference.
Ilya Kovalchuk has been instrumental to the Devils' recent run. The left-winger, who struggled during the first half of the season, tallied five game-winning goals in the team's last 11 games. His most recent came in Wednesday's 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, when he one-timed a shot past Dwayne Roloson to break a third period tie.
The Penguins have lost three of their last four and are a pedestrian 3-4-3 in their last 10 games. Their usually explosive offense is struggling, failing to score more than two goals in their last five losses.
Injuries also ravaged the Penguins lineup. The team is still without Crosby, who's continuing to recover from a concussion. The Penguins are just 11-9-4 without their captain and point leader.
The Devils won the most recent matchup with the Atlantic Division rivals, 2-0, on January 20. Brian Rolston and Nick Palmieri scored first period goals, giving Martin Brodeur all the support he needed. The Devils' goalie stopped 23 shots for the shutout win.
@ New Jersey Devils
Friday, Mar 4, 2011, 7:00 PM EST
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