Stars-Devils Preview

The Associated PressJanuary 9, 2014

Despite a solid stretch from Michael Ryder and Adam Henrique, the New Jersey Devils haven't been able to solve the offensive issues that have plagued them all season.

The Devils might be able to make some strides against Ryder's former club, which has been allowing goals at an alarming rate.

New Jersey seeks its seventh win in eight home games against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night when both attempt to snap three-game losing streaks.

Though the Devils (17-18-9) had their highest shot total in seven games with 33, Ryder and Henrique provided the only goals in a 3-2 overtime loss to visiting Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Ryder's short-handed tally tied it with 30 seconds left in regulation before the Flyers scored in the extra session to send New Jersey to its third straight loss in 2014 following a promising 5-1-2 stretch.

Since averaging 3.6 goals over a six-game span last month, the Devils have totaled just 13 over their last seven. They rank near the bottom of the league with 2.34 per game.

"It's kind of mind-boggling a little bit because we are better than what the results on the ice are," said Martin Brodeur, who had 25 saves and will get the night off against the Stars.

Jaromir Jagr, who played 34 games with Dallas last season, has a team-high 35 points for the Devils but hasn't scored in his last seven. Patrik Elias, second on the team with 25 points, is day-to-day after missing the last three games with an upper-body injury.

Henrique has stepped up with three goals in his last four at home and four in his last six games overall. Ryder, meanwhile, has three scores in his last four contests and nine in his past 17.

Ryder had a career-high 35 goals for the Stars in 2011-12 and played part of the following lockout-shortened season with Dallas before being dealt to Montreal. He'll try to extend a four-game point streak against the Stars (20-15-7) in this meeting.

The Devils appear to have a good chance to improve their production against Dallas, which has given up 18 goals during its season-worst losing streak.

After going 4-0-2 with a 1.79 goals-against average in his previous six games, Kari Lehtonen is 0-2-0 with a 5.26 GAA during the skid. He matched a career worst for goals allowed in a 7-3 loss at the New York Islanders on Monday.

"That's probably the most disappointing (game) of the whole year," coach Lindy Ruff said. "We were outskated. We couldn't win one-on-one battles. They basically looked how we usually look."

Lehtonen has stopped 53 of 55 shots in his last two starts against the Devils, though it remains uncertain who will get the nod for this meeting. Backup Dan Ellis gave up three goals on just 13 shots before getting pulled in a 5-1 home loss to Detroit on Saturday.

Making matters worse, defenseman Aaron Rome's status is uncertain after he missed Monday's loss with an upper-body injury.

New Jersey's Cory Schneider will get the start between the pipes after allowing two goals on 22 shots in his last outing, a 2-1 loss at Buffalo on Saturday. Schneider has gone 2-2-3 at home despite a 1.66 GAA in seven starts.

The Devils have outscored the Stars 31-13 while going 6-0-1 in the last seven meetings in New Jersey.