After consecutive one-goal losses, the Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey Devils managed to end their road trip with a win.
The Devils hope to carry that momentum back home as they look to win their sixth straight game at the Prudential Center when they face the lowly Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.
New Jersey (17-11-3) wrapped up its three-game road trip with a 3-1 victory over Boston on Thursday, bouncing back from a 3-2 defeat at Washington on Monday and a 1-0 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday. The Devils had won nine in a row before falling to the Rangers, whom they lead by two points for first place in the Atlantic.
“It was a solid team win,” Devils coach Brent Sutter said. “Everyone got back to what they needed to do and our awareness was what it needed to be.”
New Jersey has been doing what it’s needed to do lately at the Prudential Center, outscoring opponents 18-9 during a season-high five-game home winning streak. This is the Devils’ longest run of consecutive home victories since reeling off seven in a row from Nov. 7-Dec. 8, 2006.
Left wing Zach Parise, who leads the Devils with 14 goals and 19 assists, has six goals and four assists in his last five home games but tallied only one assist during the road trip.
Goaltender Martin Brodeur stopped 19 shots on Thursday, his first game since the loss to Rangers, which snapped his nine-game winning streak. He is 10-0-1 with a 1.44 goals-against average and two shutouts since Nov. 17.
Brodeur has been in goal for each game of the home winning streak, posting a 1.75 GAA and one shutout.
In his last game against Phoenix last Nov. 22, Brodeur had 24 saves in a 3-1 loss. The Devils lost to the Coyotes by the same score in the last meeting in New Jersey on Dec. 2, 2003. The Devils have not beaten Phoenix at home since a 5-2 win on Nov. 1, 2001.
Brodeur is 10-6-0 with a 2.10 GAA and three shutouts all-time against the Coyotes franchise.
Behind Brodeur, the Devils have allowed the second-fewest goals in the Eastern Conference (70). The Coyotes, meanwhile, are the lowest-scoring team in the Western Conference (70).
Phoenix (13-16-0) lost to the New York Islanders 3-2 on Thursday, falling for the sixth time in eight games.
The Coyotes were 1-for-6 on the power play against the Islanders, and are 4-for-31 (12.9 percent) over the last nine games.
“All in all, we played a pretty good hockey game,” Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. “Probably the difference in the game was the power play. We didn’t capitalize when we needed to.”
Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 30 shots on Thursday in his 12th straight start since being claimed off waivers from Anaheim last month. After posting a 1.23 GAA with one shutout in winning his first four outings, Bryzgalov is 2-6-0 with a 2.97 GAA since. He has never faced the Devils.
Bryzgalov is 1-5-0 with a 3.73 GAA on the road since Nov. 28, as the Coyotes have been held to two goals or less in all of those losses.
Phoenix, which won at Los Angeles 4-2 last Saturday, has split the first two games of its season-high six-game road trip.