At 13-29-3, the New Jersey Devils are buried in last place both in the Atlantic Division and in the eastern conference, hopelessly out of the playoff race before the All-Star game. Of late, though, the Devils have begun to turn things around, winning three of four behind future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur, and hope to keep things going as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins (29-14-4).
To call this season a disappointment would be an understatement as the Devils struggled under the direction of two coaches. Ilya Kovalchuk, their $100 million dollar man, has scored just 13 goals and 26 points and has been the poster boy for what ills the Devils. New Jersey has also been bothered by injuries to key players such as Brodeur and Zach Parise, who has played in just 12 games.
Pittsburgh, still without all-world center Sideny Crosby, out with a concussion, has fared well, winning their past three games, including a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The team has gotten a big lift from center Jordan Staal, returning from injury himself, who has netted three goals in three games. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has played well too – allowing just five goals in the past three games.
New Jersey is 0-2 against Pittsburgh after sweeping the season series a year ago. Pittsburgh has played well on the road this season with a 14-5-3 record and should hold a big edge in this game.