As long as their offense remains potent, they shouldn’t have many problems winning.
Riding back-to-back four-goal efforts, the Devils will look to finish a perfect three-game road trip and continue their recent success against the Stars when they visit Dallas on Wednesday night.
Behind fill-in Scott Clemmensen, who is 13-5-1 with a 2.19 goals-against average this season, New Jersey (21-11-3) has remained one of the NHL’s best defensive teams even though Brodeur will be out until at least February following elbow surgery.
The Devils, one of three Eastern Conference teams with fewer than 90 goals allowed, had given up two or fewer goals in five straight games before Tuesday’s 4-3 win at St. Louis.
But their offense was shut out in back-to-back home games against Boston and Pittsburgh last week, losing both after a 12-2-1 stretch.
Their scoring - and winning - touch has returned on the road. After beating the Rangers 4-2 on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, they got two goals from Zach Parise against the Blues, moving to 16-1-1 this season when the team scores at least three goals.
Parise is New Jersey’s leader with 21 goals and 44 points.
“That’s what Zach does,” Devils coach Brent Sutter said. “He brings that every night for us.”
The Devils have already won three straight on the road for the first time this season, going 5-0-1 in their last six outside of New Jersey. Even though Wednesday’s game concludes their current trip, they’ll play 10 of their next 14 games on the road.
“It’s tough to come into other people’s buildings and stay true to your game and not get caught up with what they’re doing,” Clemmensen said.
The franchise has fond memories in Dallas, winning all three games there during the 2000 Stanley Cup finals, including 2-1 in double-overtime in the Game 6 clincher. New Jersey is 6-2-0 against the Stars in the regular season since then, outscoring Dallas 26-12.
That includes a 5-0 win on Oct. 22 in Newark.
“Going into New Jersey earlier in the season, they beat us up pretty good,” Stars rookie forward James Neal told his team’s official Web site. “We could use some revenge here, and we’re at home, so hopefully it’ll be a different game and a different outcome.”
That loss was part of a difficult 2-4-1 start for Dallas, and while the Stars (15-15-5) still occupy last place in the Pacific Division, they’ve been playing better hockey lately.
They went 4-0-1 in their last five games before Monday’s 3-1 loss to NHL-leading San Jose. Dallas outshot the Sharks 29-19 and was within a goal late before allowing an empty-netter.
“We controlled play and had some good chances,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “If we play like that, we’ll get our fair share of opportunities and win our fair share of games.”
The main problem for the Stars this season has been defense, as the team ranks 27th in the league with a 3.40 team GAA.
But behind Marty Turco, that has been improving lately. Turco is 5-1-1 with a 2.62 GAA in his last seven starts.