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Oilers-Devils Preview

GAME: Edmonton Oilers (16-11-3) at New Jersey Devils (13-12-4).

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

The New Jersey Devils look to avoid losing five straight games for the first time in over five years when they host the Edmonton Oilers.

New Jersey dropped its fourth straight - all to Western Conference teams - with a 3-2 overtime loss at Columbus on Sunday. The Devils haven't lost five in a row since a six-game skid from Nov. 2-14, 2000, the season they finished with a franchise-record 111 points before losing in the Stanley Cup finals to Colorado.

New Jersey failed to score more than three goals for the seventh consecutive game Sunday. The Devils are 2-for-44 on the power play over that span, including 0-for-7 against Columbus.

"Our power play has been tough for us the last few games," said Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who made 12 of his 36 saves in regulation in the third period. "(It's) another reason why we couldn't get more than one point."

Brian Gionta had his 18th goal of the season and Paul Martin scored his first for New Jersey, which has dropped five of six following a season-high three-game winning streak.

Edmonton, coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday, is playing the finale of a three-game East Coast trip. The Oilers beat Philadelphia 3-2 on Thursday in the opener of the trip.

Fernando Pisani and Chris Pronger scored Saturday for the Oilers, who are 7-2-2 in their last 11 games. It was Edmonton's first shootout loss of the season.

Edmonton went 1-for-9 on the power play and allowed the Islanders to score twice with the man advantage.

"Aside from our special teams, we played pretty well," said Oilers defenseman Chris Pronger, who scored his second goal of the season. "That's been the story of our season so far."

Edmonton has beaten New Jersey only three times in the last 12 meetings in the series.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 12): Oilers - 35 points, 3rd place (tied), 5 PB, Northwest Division. Devils - 30 points, 4th place, 14 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Ryan Smyth, 13 goals; Shawn Horcoff, 23 assists; Horcoff and Jarret Stoll, 27 points; Ethan Moreau, 47 PIM. Devils - Gionta, 18 goals and 31 points; Scott Gomez, 15 assists; Jamie Langenbrunner, 34 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 12): Oilers - Power play: 17.4 percent (31 for 178), 17th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.6 percent (147 for 180), 21st. Devils - Power play: 17.6 percent (30 for 170), 16th. Penalty killing: 81.8 percent (117 for 143), tied for 19th.

GOALTENDERS: Oilers - Jussi Markkanen (10-9-3, 3.03 GAA); Mike Morrison (5-1-0, 1.79). Devils - Brodeur (11-9-2, 3.07); Scott Clemmensen (2-3-2, 3.54).

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

LAST MEETING: Jan. 5, 2004; Devils, 3-2 (OT). At East Rutherford, N.J., Patrik Elias set up Sergei Brylin's tying goal late in the third period and scored on a nice setup by Gomez 41 seconds into overtime to lift the Devils.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Oilers - 10-7-1 on the road; Devils - 8-5-2 at home.

Associated Press
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