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Canucks-Devils Preview @NHLdotcom
Canucks-Devils Preview

GAME: Vancouver Canucks (24-14-5) at New Jersey Devils (20-18-5).

TIME: Friday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The New Jersey Devils seek their first five-game winning streak this season as they host the Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver has won four straight games in the series, including the last three in New Jersey.

However, the Canucks will face a Devils team that has reeled off four consecutive wins and outscored its opponents 14-6 since the return of Patrik Elias. Elias, who missed 39 games with Hepatitis A, has two goals and six assists over that span.

New Jersey, which last won five in a row from Nov. 13-25, 2003, is playing well at the right time before heading on the road for seven of its next eight games.

In Monday's 3-0 win over Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia, Martin Brodeur was backed by power-play goals from Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner to record his 77th career shutout. Scott Gomez added a goal and an assist to extend his points streak to seven games. He has eight goals and eight assists over that span.

Brodeur had 22 saves to lower his goals-against average to 1.50 during the win streak, which began with his first shutout of the season Jan. 3 in a 3-0 win over Florida. The veteran netminder has a 2.78 GAA this season after entering with a minuscule 2.17 career GAA.

"In the old days we used to be like that, but it's been different for us, definitely," Brodeur said of adjusting to the new rules.

Brodeur has lost five straight starts against the Canucks and hasn't beaten them since a 2-1 win March 15, 1999. He is 5-8-0 lifetime against Vancouver, one of just two teams he has a losing record against.

Vancouver enters with a three-game winning streak and, like New Jersey, has a tough schedule ahead. This is the first game of a 12-game stretch in which the Canucks play 10 road games.

Alex Burrows tallied his first NHL goal and added an assist, and Anson Carter scored his 16th goal in Vancouver's 4-3 win Tuesday over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Burrows played on the fourth line with Ryan Kesler and Matt Cooke, who combined for a goal and two assists.

"We played a pretty good game defensively," said Burrows. "Our main goal was not to give up any goals against or any good scoring chances. That was our main focus in addition to getting a good forecheck going and not turning the puck over."

STANDINGS: Canucks - 53 points, 2nd place (tied), 2 PB, Northwest Division. Devils - 45 points, 3rd place, 17 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Markus Naslund, 22 goals and 47 points; Todd Bertuzzi and Henrik Sedin, 28 assists; Bertuzzi, 74 PIM. Devils - Brian Gionta, 23 goals and 44 points; Gomez, 24 assists; Colin White, 49 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Canucks - Power play: 19 percent (55 for 290), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.3 percent (218 for 265), 16th. Devils - Power play: 15.2 percent (40 for 264), 25th. Penalty killing: 82.4 percent (169 for 205), 15th.

GOALTENDERS: Canucks - Alex Auld (16-10-3, 2.89 GAA); Maxime Ouellet (0-1-1, 4.39). Devils - Brodeur (18-14-3, 2, 2.78); Scott Clemmensen (2-4-2, 3.83).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Canucks, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 5, 2004; Canucks, 4-0. At East Rutherford, N.J., Daniel Sedin had a goal and an assist, and Dan Cloutier made 24 saves for his 13th career shutout.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 8-11-2 on the road; Devils - 13-7-3 at home.

Associated Press
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