The New Jersey Devils are becoming nearly unbeatable on home ice.
In seven December home games, New Jersey collected five wins - including three straight to close out the month. They'll look to run their home win streak to four tonight against the Boston Bruins at the Prudential Center. NBC Sports Network will televise the game at 7:30 p.m.
New Jersey has overcome their early struggles on home ice, and has posted a 10-6-1 record in 17 home games. They outscored opponents 24-18 in seven home games during December, and have not allowed more than one goal in their previous two wins at the Prudential Center.
Both teams are looking to bounce back after losses. The Ottawa Senators defeated the New Jersey Devils, 3-2, in overtime Monday at Scotiabank Place. The Devils raced out to a 2-0 lead in the second period on goals from David Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus.
But the Senators fought back, with Jason Spezza breaking Martin Brodeur's shutout bid at 1:21 of the third period. Erik Condra tied the game, scoring a shorthanded goal at 13:17 of the final frame. Daniel Alfredsson scored the game-winner, firing home a powerplay goal in overtime.
Shorthanded goals continue to be a problem for New Jersey. They've allowed 12 of them so far, by far the league worst. They sit just seven away from their franchise record of 19 shorthanded goals against, set during the 1991-92 season. Devils defenseman Kurtis Foster said the team is aware of that glaring issue and is working to figure it out.
"I thought the last few games we did a really good job," he told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. "It's not like we're trying to stop teams from scoring on the power play, but I thought we did a really good job of supporting each other and coming back hard. When you (give up) a big tying goal shorthanded it's always tough, but it's not just that alone. So, it's definitely frustrating."
Boston has been one of the hottest teams in the league, but comes into tonight's game looking to rebound from a 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars Saturday. The Bruins allowed three goals in the first period, two of them powerplay tallies, in the loss. It was just the fourth time Boston lost in regulation in their last 25 games.
Winning on the road hasn't been an issue for Boston. They're one of the league's best road team, coming into tonight with an 11-4-0 record. They've also won two of their last three games at the Prudential Center.
This is the second meeting between the two teams this season. Boston won the first matchup, 4-3, November 15 at TD Garden. The teams traded goals in the second period, and entered the final frame tied 1-1. Boston jumped ahead, twice taking a one-goal lead. But the Devils battled back, and the teams entered the final five minutes of regulation tied, 3-3. Benouit Pouliot played hero, snapping the tie at 16:59 of the third period and giving Boston the win.
Brodeur will start against the Bruins, his fourth straight start and his seventh in the past eight games. In 53 career games against the Boston, Brodeur is 24-18-8-1 with a 2.45 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.