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Daily Primer: California Dreamin' for Devils

Saturday, 11.23.2013 / 1:23 AM
John Kreiser  - NHL.com Columnist

The New Jersey Devils have already had a successful trip to California. A victory against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night would be a perfect ending.

The Devils come to San Jose after back-to-back overtime wins against the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. New Jersey got a gift goal to win in Anaheim when the Ducks shot the puck into their own net, then used a historic one by Jaromir Jagr to win in L.A. Jagr's goal in overtime was the 690th of his career, tying him with longtime teammate Mario Lemieux for ninth place on the all-time list, and his 121st game-winner, equaling the record set by Gordie Howe.

Here's a complete look at the schedule on a busy Saturday:

Carolina Hurricanes at Boston Bruins -- These two teams started the week against each other in Raleigh, where the Bruins won 4-1 on Monday night. The Hurricanes bring a three-game losing streak to TD Garden after being beaten 4-3 by the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night despite the first two-goal game of defenseman Andrej Sekera's career. The Bruins are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Minnesota Wild at Winnipeg Jets -- November has been good to the Wild. Minnesota is 8-1-1 this month, including a 2-1 victory against the Jets in St. Paul this past Sunday. This is the third of a four-game trip for the Wild; Minnesota has split the first two, including a 4-3 victory against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. The up-and-down Jets are down again: They've dropped three in a row, beginning with the loss at Minnesota and including a 6-3 home loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday in which they surrendered three goals in the third period.

Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs -- Two nights after being dominated by the Pittsburgh Penguins at home in a 4-0 loss, the Capitals played the price for a bad start against the Montreal Canadiens, who scored three times before the game was 14 minutes old. Alex Ovechkin's two goals weren't enough to prevent a 3-2 loss. Former Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski will face his former team and coach, Randy Carlyle, for the first time since being bought out by Toronto during the summer and signing a contract with Washington. The Maple Leafs will try to rebound from a 4-2 home loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Montreal Canadiens -- Each teams used its backup goaltender Friday night, meaning that Quebec native Marc-Andre Fleury will likely play against Montreal's Carey Price at Bell Centre. The Penguins blew 2-0 and 3-1 leads against the Islanders before Crosby's 250th career goal gave them the victory. Montreal led 3-0 against Washington after Daniel Briere's power-play goal 13:40 into the game Friday night, then hung on for a 3-2 victory behind a 25-save performance by Peter Budaj.

Ottawa Senators at Detroit Red Wings -- This would have been the second matchup against his former team for longtime Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, but he's expected to miss the game with a groin injury. Alfredsson vs. his old team was the entire Ottawa story line when the Senators came to Detroit on Oct. 23 and routed the Red Wings 6-1; this time, it's the Senators' struggles that are getting the attention. Ottawa is 8-10-4 and coming off a 4-3 home loss to Minnesota. Gustav Nyquist, called up from the minors Thursday, scored twice for Detroit on Thursday in a slump-busting 4-3 win against Carolina. His reward: He was told he won't be sent back to the minors this season.

New York Islanders at Philadelphia Flyers -- Talk about two teams going in opposite directions. The Islanders come to Philadelphia after a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night in which a defensive breakdown left Sidney Crosby alone to score the game-winner with 1:16 remaining in the third period. After a slow start, the Flyers are on a roll; they are 5-0-1 in their past six games and are coming off a dominant effort in a 4-1 victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.

Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues -- Brenden Morrow faces his old team for the first time when the Stars come to Scottrade Center, where the Blues have been almost unbeatable. Morrow, the Stars' captain for seven seasons, was traded to Pittsburgh in March and signed with the Blues as a free agent in September. He's scored four goals for the Blues, who return home after ending a 2-1-0 road trip with a 3-2 shootout win in Boston. The Stars pelted Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with 43 shots Thursday night but scored only twice and left American Airlines Center with a 3-2 loss.

New York Rangers at Nashville Predators -- The Rangers haven't been to Bridgestone Arena in three years, but Nashville has always been a friendly stopover for them -- New York is 5-1-0-1 in Music City since the Predators entered the NHL in 1998. The Rangers started their five-game trip with a 3-2 win in Dallas thanks to Lundqvist's 41 saves; 23 of them came in the first period. Nashville is home after back-to-back victories in Detroit and Toronto. The Predators have won three in a row after losing four straight.

Anaheim Ducks at Phoenix Coyotes -- The Ducks lead the overall standings with 35 points after a 1-0 overtime victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday that ended a five-game losing streak. Ryan Getzlaf scored the game's only goal with 5.2 seconds left in OT. Phoenix is still unbeaten in regulation at Jobing.com Arena, but the Coyotes were unable to put away the Avalanche on Thursday after taking a one-goal lead in the third period and wound up settling for a single point in a 4-3 overtime loss. The Coyotes don't have a big scorer -- no one has reached 20 points yet -- but six players have 16 or more points, and their defensemen have scored a League-high 19 goals.

Chicago Blackhawks at Vancouver Canucks -- The Blackhawks come to Rogers Arena on the third stop of their seven-game "Circus Trip" after steamrolling the Jets 6-3 in Winnipeg on Thursday. At 15-4-4, the defending Stanley Cup champs are on top of a Central Division race in which four teams are separated by two points. The Canucks' offense came to life Friday, with both Sedin twins scoring goals in a 6-2 home victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets that broke a five-game losing streak during which Vancouver scored six goals.

Colorado Avalanche at Los Angeles Kings -- After a three-game hiccup, the Avalanche look like they're back on track. Colorado followed a 5-1 whipping of the Blackhawks in Denver on Tuesday by beating the Coyotes 4-3 in overtime on the road Thursday. The secret to beating the Avalanche: Don't let them score first. Colorado is 14-0-0 when it gets the first goal. The Kings are coming off perhaps their most frustrating game of the season; they outshot the Devils 35-15, including 27-5 in the first two periods, but had to settle for one point Thursday night when Jaromir Jagr scored in overtime for a 2-1 victory.

New Jersey Devils at San Jose Sharks -- The Devils are going for a 3-for-3 California trip after beating the Ducks and Kings in overtime on back-to-back nights. Jagr got the chance to be the hero in L.A. only because Cory Schneider stood on his head, making 34 saves and keeping his team in the game on a night when the Devils were dominated. The Sharks lead the NHL in goal differential at plus-26 and had the day off after routing the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 on Thursday behind a pair of goals by Tommy Wingels.

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