Tonight in the NHL: Devils look to rebound

Tonight in the NHL: Devils look to rebound
March 5, 2013, 2:45 pm
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The Flyers have climbed back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture thanks to a 3-1-0 record in their last four games.

Tonight, they travel to Madison Square Garden to take on the division-rival Rangers (see story). New York sits just one point behind the Flyers for the eighth and final playoff spot after earning four points in its last two games.

There are 10 other games around the NHL tonight. Here is a look at the notable matchups:

Lightning at Devils, 7 p.m.

The Devils have been a completely different team since Martin Brodeur went down with a back injury. Just a few weeks ago, New Jersey (10-7-5) sat alone atop the Eastern Conference. But, ever since Johan Hedberg took over in goal, the Devils have posted a 0-4-1 record to drop them all the way down to seventh in the East.

Monday in Toronto, the Devils got two goals from defenseman Marek Zidlicky but went 0-for-4 on the power play. They surrendered three goals in the third period, turning a 2-1 lead into a 4-2 loss.

Tampa Bay (9-12-1) has also been struggling of late. The Lightning have just two points in their last seven games (1-6-0) despite seven goals from the NHL’s top goal-scorer Steven Stamkos.

In their last game against Pittsburgh, the Lightning, just like the Devils, gave up three goals in the third period en route to a 4-3 loss. Stamkos netted two goals, but Tampa Bay lost starting goaltender Mathieu Garon to a lower-body injury in the second period.

Patrick Elias’ goal and two assists helped New Jersey defeat Tampa Bay back on Feb. 7. Hedberg will be in net again tonight for the Devils.

Canadiens at Islanders, 7 p.m.

Montreal sits on top of the East with 32 points thanks to an 11-game point streak. The Canadiens (14-4-4) are 8-0-3 during their current streak.

On Sunday in Boston, winger Max Pacioretty and center David Desharnais each scored a goal in the third period to propel Montreal to a 4-3 victory. Backup goalie Peter Budaj got the start in net and stopped 31 shots.

The Islanders (9-11-2) have earned three points in their last two games, and now sit just three points behind the Flyers for the eighth playoff spot.

New York is coming off a 3-2 shootout victory at home over the Senators. Ottawa defenseman Patrick Wiercioch tied the game up on the power play with just over a minute left in regulation, but after a scoreless overtime, center John Tavares scored the deciding goal in the shootout to earn the Islanders two points.

On Feb. 21, Islanders rookie defenseman Thomas Hickey scored an overtime goal, his first NHL tally, to beat Montreal, 4-3. Goaltender Evgeni Nabakov recorded 30 saves in the win.

Wild at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m.

The Blackhawks’ point streak is still alive. Chicago (19-0-3) has a point in all 22 games this season, and goaltender Corey Crawford is stopping nearly everything. His 1.41 goals-against-average leads the NHL.

Chicago narrowly escaped having its point streak snapped in Detroit on Sunday. Right winger Patrick Kane’s power-play goal with 2:02 left in regulation tied the game at one, and then Kane scored the lone goal in the shootout. Kane’s heroics and Crawford’s 32 saves earned the Blackhawks a 2-1 victory.

Minnesota (11-8-2) is currently tied for eighth in the West after winning three of its last four games. Goaltender Niklas Backstrom has played well recently, winning six of his last eight starts and giving up just one goal in four of the six wins.

Mikko Koivu, Charlie Coyle, and Dany Heatley all scored for the Wild in the third period of their 4-2 victory over the Oilers on Sunday. Minnesota had more than twice as many shots as Edmonton, registering 43 to the Oilers’ 21.

The Wild handed the Blackhawks one of their three shootout losses on the season, back on Jan. 30. Minnesota winger Cal Clutterbuck tied the game at two in the second period and center Matt Cullen buried the deciding goal in the shootout to give the Wild at 3-2 victory.

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