Detroit (13-10-4) at New Jersey (18-7-1)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Newark, NJ
Temp: 82° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Sat Dec 5, 2009
  • TV: FSD, MSG+
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings are the NHL’s two winningest franchises over the past 20 seasons.

So far, only the Devils are continuing that high level of success this season.

After rebounding from one of its worst defensive performance this season, New Jersey will try to take advantage of the slumping Red Wings in Saturday night’s finale of a four-game homestand.

The Devils have 826 victories since 1989-90, second only to the Red Wings’ 888, but they could close that gap this season, especially if they continue their resurgent play at the Prudential Center.

New Jersey (18-7-1) had a six-game win home streak snapped in Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to Vancouver but rebounded Friday night against Tampa Bay thanks to some late heroics.

The Devils allowed the tying goal with three minutes left, but Andy Greene(notes) fired a shot from the point that Jamie Langenbrunner(notes) deflected in with 38.1 seconds remaining.

The 3-2 victory moved New Jersey within three points of Atlantic Division-leading Pittsburgh.

“I had a lane to the net and just tried to throw it there,” Greene said. “Jamie got a great tip on it. That’s why you play until the final whistle. You keep going to the very end and you have to be ready for anything.”

The Red Wings (13-10-4), meanwhile, are in an unaccustomed spot after winning eight consecutive Central Division titles. They sit in fourth place and are enduring a 3-5-1 stretch that includes Thursday night’s 4-1 loss to visiting Edmonton.

“I didn’t think we were any good,” coach Mike Babcock said. “I saw continuous turnovers and guys getting beat up the ice. … They came in here in a game they needed to win and we needed to win, and they were better than us from the start to the end.”

An inconsistent offense hasn’t helped as the Red Wings have been held to one goal or fewer in six of those nine games.

After scoring a league-best 295 goals last season, Detroit has struggled since the departures of Marian Hossa(notes), Mikael Samuelsson(notes) and Jiri Hudler(notes). Johan Franzen(notes), Jason Williams(notes), Valtteri Filppula(notes) and Niklas Kronwall(notes) are also on injured reserve, and Brian Rafalski(notes) (back) and Patrick Eaves(notes) (ankle) are day to day.

However, defenseman Jonathan Ericsson(notes), who was taken off the ice Thursday with a knee injury, is expected to play Saturday.

Detroit’s struggling offense could continue to have problems against the Devils, who have allowed two goals or fewer in 16 of their last 20. Martin Brodeur(notes) has a 1.85 goals-against average since giving up 19 goals in his first six games.

Brodeur, still searching for his NHL record-tying 103rd shutout, has blanked Detroit twice in 15 career matchups but hasn’t faced the Red Wings since Dec. 16, 2006.

The Devils could have forward Jay Pandolfo(notes) (dislocated right shoulder) and defenseman Johnny Oduya(notes) (lower-body injury) back in the lineup.

The Red Wings are seeking their fifth straight victory over the Devils but the teams have met once since 2006-07, last season’s 3-1 win.

Chris Osgood(notes) made 24 saves in that victory but is 0-3-1 with a 3.26 GAA in his last four games. Osgood is expected to try for his third straight win over the Devils after sitting for three straight contests.

Detroit’s Danny Cleary(notes) and New Jersey’s Niclas Bergfors(notes) have scored in consecutive games, but neither player has a goal against Saturday’s opponent.

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Saturday, Dec 5