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Devils try to start new road streak at Nashville

by Dave Lozo /

DEVILS (14-5-0) at PREDATORS (10-8-1)

Last 10 -- Devils 8-2-0; Predators 7-3-0.

Season series -- This is their only meeting. The Devils came away with a 3-1 win in Nashville in their only matchup last season.

Big story -- The Devils quest to go 41-0-0 on the road came to an end in Philadelphia on Monday; New Jersey was 9-0-0 away from home, one short of Buffalo's record for the best road start ever, before the 3-2 loss to the Flyers. Meanwhile, the Predators have won four straight at home and eight of 11 since a six-game losing streak in mid-October.

Team scope :

Devils -- First place in the Atlantic Division, best road record in the NHL, winners of eight of their last nine. Yet Jacques Lemaire wanted to give his team a kick in the pants during a Tuesday practice. He didn't like what he saw against the Flyers -- and he let his players know it.

"(Monday) night if we had the energy we had in past games we might've come back," the coach said. "But we didn't.

"I'm not waiting. As soon as I see something that is important or not the way it should be, then we're going to practice."

Predators -- Not only are the Preds playing well, but they're coming off a win against the NHL's top team, the San Jose Sharks. It won't get any easier tonight against the Devils, but the Preds are looking forward to the challenge.

"That's a great team," Predators defenseman Francois Bouillon said. "They have a lot of experience and they always play well in their defensive system. They obviously have a great goaltender in Martin Brodeur. But when we play with a lot of emotion and passion, nobody can stop us."

Who's hot -- Devils forward Zach Parise has goals in five straight games, and Brodeur has a .942 save percentage in his past seven. Right wing J.P. Dumont has 6 points in his last 6 games for the Predators.

Injury report -- The Devils have five players (Paul Martin, Johnny Oduya, Rob Niedermayer, Jay Pandolfo and Dean McAmmond) on IR. Nashville rookie Colin Wilson, the Predators' top pick in 2008, is still nursing a groin injury.

Stat pack -- The Predators are in the midst of a stretch where they will play 8 of 9 and 12 of 15 games at home. The Devils haven't lost in Nashville since Jan. 2, 2004. It's not as big a deal as it sounds -- they've only been there twice.

Puck drop -- Two nights after failing to tie the NHL record for consecutive road wins to open a season, the Devils are excited about the idea of starting a new streak.

"We knew we weren't going to win 41 on the road," center Travis Zajac said. "It was tough to lose, but we have to get back at it and start a new streak."

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