Blues continue pursuit of playoff spot against Devils
Saturday, 03.20.2010 / 6:00 PMBLUES (33-28-9) at DEVILS (42-24-4)
Last 10 --
St. Louis 7-3-0; New Jersey 5-4-1
Season series --
The lone meeting of the season is actually only the third in four seasons between the teams. The Devils scored a 4-3 road victory in 2008-09 and the Blues notched a 3-2 road victory in 2006-07. This is their first visit to the Prudential Center.
Big Story --
The Devils (42-24-4, 88 points) might be battling the Pittsburgh Penguins (42-24-5, 89 points) for first place in the Atlantic Division, but if the team cannot straighten out their troubles on the road, any chance at a postseason run might be mute. The Devils have lost four in a row (0-3-1) and 10 of their last 11 on the road (1-8-2) but, fortunately for coach Jacques Lemaire's team, five of the next six games are on home ice.
Paul Kariya scored his 400th career goal to help beat the New York Rangers, 4-3, on Thursday. The Blues scored four goals on their first 14 shots on Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist to improve to 8-3-0 in their last 11 games. Despite the victory, St. Louis sits 10th in the Western Conference -- 5 points behind eighth-seeded Detroit.
"We also know that we're going to have some head-to-head matchups as we continue to march along," coach Davis Payne said. "The pace of what Detroit, Calgary and Nashville are doing makes it more important that we play better hockey -- and that's all we can do."
New Jersey followed a 5-2 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday with a 2-1 shootout loss in Toronto on Thursday. Backup goalie Yann Danis earned his second start in the last four games as Martin Brodeur gained some rest. Danis (25 saves) played well but was victimized by all three Toronto shooters during the shootout in a 2-1 defeat. The Devils return home where they are currently riding a five-game winning streak and outscoring opponents, 22-10.
Who's Hot --
Blues center Patrik Berglund
has 8 points in his last 10 games, including 5 goals, and defenseman Eric Brewer
had 12 of the Blues' 43 hits in a victory over the Rangers on Thursday. For the season, Brewer has 62 hits while forward David Backes
ranks seventh in the League with 212.
Injury Report --
Devils forward Brian Rolston sat out Thursday's game against the Maple Leafs for some much-needed rest and is expected to be in the lineup against the Blues. The Blues, meanwhile, have no significant injuries to report.
Stat Pack --
The Devils have chased the opposing starting goaltenders in their last three home games (Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist, Boston's Tim Thomas, Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury).
Puck Drop --
After finishing 0-for-4 on the power-play against Toronto on Thursday, the Devils are now 0-for-14 with the man advantage over their last five games.
"We don't build any confidence on the power play," Lemaire said. "On the first two power plays, I think we had one shot on net. They don't play together on the power play."