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Devils look to win at home before big road trip

New Jersey looks to end Winnipeg's three-game winning streak

by Amanda Stein @AmandaCStein /

3/8 Preview: NJD vs. WPG

3/8 Pregame Preview: NJD vs. WPG

Travis Zajac prepares to face-off against his hometown team when the Devils host the Winnipeg Jets

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The New Jersey Devils will host the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night in their final home game before a two-week western road trip. 

The visiting Jets bring the Western Conference's third-best record into Prudential Center. 

"We haven't played them in a while," Travis Zajac said. "Watching them over the last couple of months you see how dangerous they are."

The Jets are one of the league's hottest teams, winners of three in a row on their current trip through the Mid-Atlantic. 

"For us we're going to have to play defense by committee and make sure we're making it tough on them," Zajac said. "[We have to] make sure we're not giving them any free or easy offense. We've played some of our best hockey against good teams, so it's a good challenge." 

Coach John Hynes added: "To be very honest, when you look at Winnipeg - they're very well built, they're very well coached. They're fast, tenacious, have build and size. They play hard. We're playing one of the best teams in the league tonight and we feel like it's a good test for us. We have to be at our best to have an opportunity to win."

After 22 games away from the Devils with a thumb injury, Brian Gibbons returns to the lineup against the Jets, slated to skate alongside Brian Boyle and Miles Wood. Pavel Zacha will be out Thursday night with an upper-body injury. 

The line of Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt stays intact as Hall tries to extend his point streak to 27 games. As the center who dishes many pucks to Hall, Hischier feels no added pressure to help extend the streak.  

"He's such a good player," Hischier said. "Sometimes he creates by himself. For sure I'll help as much as I can, but I don't put any pressure on [myself] to [extend his point] streak."

Cory Schneider will get the start in net. 

The lineup against the Jets is expected to be as follows: 




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