Ottawa (13-12-3) at New Jersey (13-12-1)

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By JEFF MEZYDLO, STATS Senior Writer Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011 Puck Drop: 7:00 pm EST Thu Dec 8, 2011

Though New Jersey ended its longest losing streak of the season by salvaging the final game of its road trip, the Devils might have a tough time building on that victory when they return home to face the Ottawa Senators.

Looking to start a run in the positive direction, the Devils try to avoid a third consecutive loss to the Senators on Thursday night.

New Jersey (13-12-1) snapped a four-game skid with a 3-2 overtime win at Toronto on Tuesday to conclude a 1-3-0 trip.

“It’s still a work in progress but we’re doing a lot of good things,” coach Peter DeBoer said.

David Clarkson(notes) scored twice, including 2:40 into overtime as the Devils recorded more than two goals for the first time in their last seven games. Martin Brodeur(notes) made 29 saves to snap his own three-game skid in which he’d allowed 12 goals on 55 shots.

“I think the guys recognize that we’ve been doing a lot of good things,” DeBoer told the Devils’ official website.

Clarkson, who snapped a seven-game drought without a point, moved into a tie with Patrik Elias(notes) for the team lead with nine goals.

Brodeur has posted a 2.38 goals-against average in the Devils’ last five meetings with Ottawa (13-12-3), but New Jersey has dropped four of those contests while totaling just six goals.

Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) has three goals and three assists in his last five games overall, but has been held without a point in his last two against the Senators.

Ottawa, which snapped a six-game road losing streak in the series with a 2-1 win at New Jersey on March 8, now looks to bounce back after it allowed four third-period goals Wednesday in a 5-3 home loss to Washington.

Milan Michalek(notes) scored his team-leading 17th goal, but the Senators lost for the third time in four games since a 5-1-1 stretch.

Despite his team’s recent struggles, Michalek has scored five times over the last five games. He has never posted more than 26 goals in any of his previous six full NHL seasons.

“His speed is second to none in the league,” teammate Jason Spezza(notes) told the Senators’ official website. “In our room, we know how fast he is and how effective he can be. He’s got that game breaker speed and he’s had some good finishes (around the net) early in the year.”

Michalek has four goals and one assist in eight career games versus New Jersey.

Craig Anderson(notes) has started the last seven games for Ottawa, including a 39-save effort in Wednesday’s win. Anderson is 4-1-1 with a 2.27 GAA against the Devils, while backup Alex Auld(notes) - who hasn’t started since Nov. 20 but could Thursday with the Senators taking the ice on back-to-back nights - is 0-5-2 with a 2.94 GAA versus New Jersey.

The Senators are looking to avoid a third consecutive loss on the road, where they are 1-2-2 since winning a season-high three in a row.

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Thursday, Dec 8