GAME: New Jersey Devils (39-24-12-2) at Atlanta Thrashers (31-34-8-4).
TIME: Friday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Though they have a postseason spot locked up, the New Jersey Devils look far
from playoff ready.
With just one win in their last four games, the defending Stanley Cup
champions meet the Atlanta Thrashers in the finale of their four-game road
The Devils, who are 1-2-1 during their slide, are coming off Thursday's 2-1
loss to Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay.
"We're not getting the bounces or we're not getting it done," goalie
Martin Brodeur said. "That's definitely frustrating because we're a team that
usually is able to do that through the years. It's amazing that as of late,
we're just having a hard time."
The Devils are 4-4-1 in their past nine games, and have just a two-point
lead over Montreal for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Devils,
though, are just three points behind Ottawa for fifth.
Patrik Elias scored his team-leading 35th goal of the season in Thursday's
loss as the Devils continue to be mediocre offensively. The Devils have
converted just four of their last 47 power-play opportunities and have been
held to two goals or fewer in five of their last nine games.
The Thrashers, who were eliminated from playoff contention Thursday when the
New York Islanders beat Philadelphia 4-2, are riding a three-game unbeaten
On Wednesday, defenseman Daniel Tjarnqvist scored on a 55-foot wrist shot
with 7:24 remaining to lead Atlanta to a 3-2 win over lowly Washington.
The Thrashers, who tied a franchise record with their 31st victory, have
lost just four of their last 13 (7-2-2-2). Atlanta has also won a
franchise-record 18 home games.
STANDINGS: Devils - 92 points, 2nd place, 6 PB, Atlantic Division. Thrashers
- 74 points, 2nd place, 27 PB, Southeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Devils - Elias, 35 goals and 70 points; Scott Gomez, 50
assists; Colin White, 89 PIM. Thrashers - Ilya Kovalchuk, 39 goals, 44 assists
and 83 points; Francis Lessard, 173 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 25): Devils - Power play: 15.1 percent (42 for
278), 21st in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (209 for 247), 10th. Thrashers
- Power play: 15.0 percent (58 for 387), 22nd. Penalty killing: 85.5 percent
(312 for 365), 5th.
GOALTENDERS: Devils - Brodeur (35-25-11, 10 SO, 2.05 GAA); Scott Clemmensen
(2-1-0, 1, 1.35). Thrashers - Pasi Nurminen (25-27-7, 3, 2.73); Kari Lehtonen
(2-0-0, 0, 2.00).
SEASON SERIES: Devils, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 27; Thrashers, 3-2. At East Rutherford, N.J., Dany
Heatley scored on the power play with 5:48 remaining, while Nurminen had to
make just 15 saves.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devils - 19-12-7-1 on the road; Thrashers - 18-15-4-2 at