(SportsNetwork.com) – The New Jersey Devils have cooled off considerably since
a 3-0 start and Peter DeBoer’s club will try to halt a three-game slide when
it welcomes the Dallas Stars for Friday’s clash at Prudential Center.
The Devils jumped out to a 3-0 start for the second time in three seasons only
to follow with a losing streak. After taking its first three tests in 2012-13,
New Jersey lost the next four games and the club could follow the same pattern
this season if it loses again tonight.
New Jersey coughed up a two-goal lead in the third period of its most recent
outing and wound up losing 4-3 in overtime against the visiting New York
The Devils led 2-1 after 40 minutes on Tuesday and grabbed a two-goal cushion
when Jon Merrill scored 36 seconds into the third period. The Rangers,
however, would score the game’s next three goals, ending their successful
comeback win with Kevin Klein’s goal 2:42 into the extra session.
All three New Jersey tallies came via the power play, with Jaromir Jagr and
Adam Henrique finishing with a goal and an assist. Although the Devils went 3-
for-5 on the power play, the club also allowed New York to score twice on
three chances with the man advantage.
New Jersey has killed off only 21-of-29 penalties this season, placing them in
a tie with Florida for 28th in the league rankings.
“I think we’ve got to get back to doing what we do best on the (penalty kill)
and that’s being aggressive and being hard to play against and taking
advantage of opportunities to be aggressive,” DeBoer told Northjersey.com
Cory Schneider, burned for eight goals in the Devils’ two consecutive defeats
coming in, allowed four on 25 shots on Tuesday. Schneider will start tonight
and could get the call again when Jersey visits Ottawa on Saturday. He is
7-3-0 with a 2.11 goals against average in 10 career games against the Stars.
Backup netminder Scott Clemmensen has yet to start a game this season, with
his only action coming in a relief capacity on Oct. 16 in Washington.
Devils forward Jordin Tootoo will miss both of Jersey’s games this weekend
with an injured left foot suffered Tuesday against the Rangers.
New Jersey has dominated the Stars in recent years and hopes to continue that
trend Friday when aiming for a much-needed win. The Devils went 2-0 against
Dallas in 2013-14 and have claimed three straight, four of five and seven of
the last 11 meetings. Dallas has dropped two in a row and seven of eight in
The Stars began the season with two straight losses, but are 3-0-1 since then
and are coming off Tuesday’s lopsided victory over Vancouver. Dallas slammed
the visiting Canucks, 6-3, to bounce back from Saturday’s 6-5 overtime loss
Erik Cole scored a pair of goals Tuesday, while Jamie Benn, Ryan Garbutt and
Tyler Seguin each added a goal and an assist.
“We started the game (and) did a lot of great things,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff
said. “When the game was right there I thought we were the better team. When
it got out of hand we had too many guys leaning on the offensive side.”
Cody Eakin also lit the lamp for the Stars, while Kari Lehtonen stopped 43-
of-46 shots in the win. Lehtonen rebounded after yielding all six goals on 37
shots in the previous game versus the Flyers.
Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski is questionable for tonight after getting cut
on the ear by Lehtonen’s skate in Tuesday’s tilt. Goligoski has three assists
through six games and is second only to blueliner Trevor Daley in ice time.
Anders Lindback could give Lehtonen a breather and start on Friday. He is
2-2-0 with a 2.56 GAA in four career games against the Devils, while Lehtonen
is 7-6-1 with a 2.72 GAA versus New Jersey.
After playing this evening in the Garden State, the Stars will complete a two-
game swing Saturday against the New York Islanders.