CALGARY, AB -- The New Jersey Devils are picking a fine time to play some of their best hockey of the season, but it might be too little, too late.
The Devils, who have not lost in regulation over their past seven games, have climbed to within three points of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. They trail the Detroit Red Wings by four for the other wild card spot, too.
The only problem for the Devils is the fact that they’re quickly running out of time. With just four games remaining, New Jersey needs to run the table with the hopes that one or both of the wild card clubs stumble enough to open the door.
This Season: 34-28-16, 84 points (9th in East)
Last Season: 19-19-10, 48 points (11th in East)
Notable Injuries: Forwards Adam Henrique (groin), Patrick Elias (head) and Jacob Josefson (foot), Ryane Clowe (head) and defenseman Bryce Salvador (groin) are all questionable for the Devils.
Flames Season Series Record: 1-0-0
Zubrus has been New Jersey’s most productive forward of late, recording three goals over the past three games. That accounts for 43 percent of the Devils’ scoring during that stretch, which has seen the club earn five of a possible six points. Overall, the Elektrenai, Lithuania native has 13 goals and 26 points in 78 games this season.
Jagr paces the Devils in scoring with 64 points but has struggled of late to build on those totals. The 42-year-old has gone three straight games without a point and, outside of a four-point performance against the Florida Panthers on March 31, has been kept off the score sheet in seven of his past eight outings.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Henrique, also without a point in his last three, has been the Devils most potent scoring threat with a career-best 25 goals in 77 games this season. That total paces New Jersey, while his 43 points place him fourth overall in club scoring. The 24-year-old holds a share of the team lead in power play goals (7) while his three shorthanded markers are also tops.
Schneider, acquired at last year’s NHL Draft, has put together a strong opening campaign with the Devils. The 28-year-old goaltender is 16-14-11 with a 2.02 goals against average and .918 save percentage. He’s been especially good of late, too, allowing just two goals in back-to-back wins over the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes to keep New Jersey’s playoff hopes alive.
Elias continues to defy his age with another strong campaign for the Devils. The 37-year-old has amassed 17 goals and 51 points in 62 games. In his 1,152 career games with New Jersey, Elias has 392 goals and 981 points. He’s questionable to play against Calgary, though, after missing Saturday’s game against the Hurricanes.