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Blues get opportunity to avenge loss to Devils

by Mike G. Morreale

DEVILS (22-20-11) at BLUES (35-11-5)


Last 10: St. Louis 6-4-0; New Jersey 5-2-3

Season series: This is the second of two meetings. The New Jersey Devils were clicking on all cylinders in the previous game Jan. 21 in Newark, N.J., when they received goals from seven different players on the way to a 7-1 victory. Cory Schneider made 26 saves.

Big story: The Devils will look to rebound from a 7-3 loss against the New York Rangers in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. After taking a 3-1 lead, the Devils allowed six unanswered goals and goalie Martin Brodeur was yanked in favor of Schneider after allowing six goals on 21 shots. It marked the first time this season coach Peter DeBoer was forced to switch goaltenders during the course of a game. Despite the loss, the Devils have points in eight of their past 10 games and in 15 of their last 20 (10-5-5).

"We did come out ready to play," DeBoer said. "I thought we had a really good first period, and I think we fell into a little bit of a trap because it was five goals scored in the first [when the Devils took a 3-2 lead]. We started to open it up a little bit in the second looking for another three and that's not our game; they made us pay."

Team Scope:

Devils: Jaromir Jagr recorded two assists in the first period of Sunday's game to pass Mario Lemieux on the all-time assist list with 1,035. Jagr, who stands alone in 10th place, now has his sights set on Marcel Dionne. Dionne is ninth on the all-time list with 1,040 assists. Jagr, who leads the Devils in assists (28) and points (44), is riding a four-game point streak (two goals, four assists).

"It seems like every game the media asks about [a new record], do I know where I am," Jagr said. "I'm right here. I don't feel like going anywhere. I enjoy the game and I want to keep playing. I don't worry about the numbers. If I work hard and stay healthy, I can play more games."

Blues: After dropping a 7-1 decision against the Devils, the Blues strung together two straight road victories against the New York Rangers (2-1) and New York Islanders (4-3 in a shootout) to finish 3-1-0 on the recent road swing.

"We've been working hard on this trip," Blues forward T.J. Oshie said. "We had a tough game in New Jersey, but other than that, we've been playing pretty good team hockey."

Alexander Steen, who sustained a fractured toe in the win Thursday against the Rangers, did play on Saturday against the Islanders and had two assists to boost his season total to 17 assists and a team-high 43 points. It was his 12th multiple-point game of the season.

The victory against the Islanders also gave Ken Hitchcock his 107th victory as Blues coach, enabling him to pass Jacques Demers for fifth on the franchise's all-time win list.

Who's hot: Blues wing Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice on Saturday to become the eighth player on the roster to have at least 30 points this season, along with Steen (44), Oshie (42), David Backes (38), Alex Pietrangelo (37), Kevin Shattenkirk (36), Jaden Schwartz (35) and Derek Roy (31). … Devils center Travis Zajac notched the 300th point of his NHL career (106 goals, 194 assists) on Sunday when he scored in the first. He now has points in three straight games (one goal, three assists) for the third time this season.

Injury report: Devils defenseman Peter Harrold (foot) remains on injured reserve. … There are no injuries to report for St. Louis.

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