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Coyotes-Devils Preview @NHLdotcom

Behind their recent success at home and the return of Martin Brodeur, the New Jersey Devils have stayed on top of the Atlantic Division and moved closer to the Eastern Conference lead.

With another victory at the Prudential Center, the Devils would make franchise history.

New Jersey tries to win a team-record ninth straight at home Thursday night against Phoenix, but beating the Coyotes hasn't proved easy for the Devils in recent matchups.

In winning eight straight home games, the Devils (43-20-3) have built a seven-point cushion over Philadelphia in the division and climbed within five of East-leading Boston.

New Jersey has won eight in a row at home three times since moving from Colorado in 1982-83.

The Devils have also gotten a boost from Brodeur in his return from left elbow surgery, winning five of six since he came back Feb. 26. After missing nearly four months, the four-time Vezina Trophy winner has allowed 12 goals while starting every game during the 5-1-0 stretch.

After he was pulled in a 7-3 loss to the lowly New York Islanders on Saturday, Brodeur bounced back Tuesday night against Northwest Division-leading Calgary. He stopped 35 shots in a 3-2 victory, his 549th, to move within two wins of all-time leader Patrick Roy.

"I was in certain situations where the puck hit me today, and Saturday it didn't," said Brodeur, whose 100 career shutouts are three shy of tying Terry Sawchuk's NHL mark. "I worked hard yesterday in practice on a couple of little things, my balance. In Long Island, my balance was not great and I worked on it."

Zach Parise moved into second in the NHL with his 39th goal Tuesday, and Jamie Langenbrunner extended his point streak to six with a goal and an assist.

Should he start again Thursday, Brodeur would face the Coyotes (28-33-6) for the first time since a 4-1 home loss Dec. 15, 2007. He's struggled in his most recent matchups, allowing 10 goals in three straight losses.

New Jersey has dropped four of five in the series dating to March 5, 2002, but the Devils will face a Coyotes team that is bottoming out at the end of the season.

During a 1-5-1 stretch, Phoenix has been outscored 21-10, netting two goals or fewer in each game. The Coyotes earned a rare point Tuesday night at West co-leader Detroit, falling 3-2 in overtime for their 15th loss in 19 games and third straight on the road.

"It was good to come back and get the tie at the end," coach Wayne Gretzky said. "A little disappointed that we didn't get the win, but all in all, I thought our guys played pretty hard."

The lack of offensive production has Gretzky's team headed toward its fourth last-place finish in the Pacific Division in five seasons. The Coyotes are only three points ahead of last-place Colorado in the West and have one of the league's worst offenses (2.45 goals per game) and defenses (3.03).

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