|Afternoon NHL: Detroit at New Jersey|
|Written by TheSpread|
|Saturday, 16 December 2006 04:00|
Bettors Leaning Towards Devils at Home Today Over Red Wings
They'll try to continue their road success in a place they haven't won in more than 13 years when they face the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
The Devils are 11-2-1 at Continental Airlines Arena, the best home mark in the Eastern Conference. Before a 3-2 loss to Buffalo on Tuesday, New Jersey had won seven in a row at home.
Detroit (18-8-4), meanwhile, is in the midst of a three-game road trip. The Red Wings beat Chicago 3-2 in the opener on Thursday night and have won three straight away from home.
Detroit has won six of eight overall since a five-game losing streak from Nov. 17-25, but has been terrible in New Jersey. The Wings haven't defeated the Devils (17-11-2) on the road since a 4-3 victory on Nov. 20, 1993, a span of nine games that also includes two losses in the 1995 Stanley Cup finals.
This is the first time Detroit has visited New Jersey since Jan. 28, 2003, when Devils goalie Martin Brodeur stopped 16 shots in a 1-0 victory. The Red Wings, though, have won six of the past nine meetings between the teams.
Detroit should be focused after the Blackhawks gave the Red Wings a challenge on Thursday. Dominik Hasek made 29 saves and the Red Wings allowed at least 30 shots for the first time in five games and only the fifth time this season.
``Especially in the first period on their power play, I had to make like four saves in two seconds and the whole game I felt pretty busy,'' Hasek said. ``For me, I think that was the first time I faced 30-plus shots and it's even better when you win a game like that.''
The Red Wings have 40 points, three behind first-place Nashville in the Central Division.
``Any two points are important. If you can win then it helps your confidence, definitely,'' Hasek said. ``We feel like we can win close games. 2-1, 3-2, these are the games you need to win and in the playoffs it's like that, but there's a long way to go.''
The Devils have lost two straight following a five-game winning streak and are stuck on 40 points as well, four behind the New York Rangers for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.
Following Tuesday's loss to the Sabres, the Devils fell 5-3 at Boston on Thursday to a Bruins team they defeated 5-1 at home five days earlier.
``We didn't have the same intensity,'' New Jersey coach Claude Julien said. ``We didn't seem to skate as well. We were just a step behind.''
The Bruins outshot the Devils 45-29.
``They came out with the attitude of taking the game to us,'' New Jersey center Erik Rasmussen said. ``We were a little slow reacting.''
Patrik Elias scored for the Devils on Thursday and has five goals and eight assists during an eight-game point streak.
Brodeur, who didn't play against Boston, is 11-6-0 with one tie and a 1.99 goals-against average in 18 games - including playoffs - against Detroit.
by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us
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