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GAME: Minnesota Wild (10-11-3) at New Jersey Devils (12-10-2).

TIME: Saturday, 1 p.m. EST.

The New Jersey Devils try to extend their home win streak to four straight when they face the Minnesota Wild and former coach Jacques Lemaire Saturday afternoon.

The Devils had a season-best three-game winning streak snapped Wednesday with a 2-1 loss at Philadelphia.

The defeat marked the first time in six games that right wing Brian Gionta failed to score a goal. Gionta was held without a point for only the second time in nine contests.

New Jersey scored 12 power-play goals en route to winning six of nine, but was scoreless on six opportunities with the man advantage against the Flyers.

Despite facing the team with the league's worst penalty-killing unit, the Devils couldn't capitalize on a pair of 5-on-3 advantages in the second period. Philadelphia scored both of its goals after killing second-period penalties.

"Any time you kill off a 5-on-3 or kill off back-to-back penalties, that will give your team a big lift," New Jersey coach Larry Robinson said.

The absence of defenseman Vladimir Malakhov contributed to the Devils' power-play struggles on Wednesday. In two games with Malakhov sidelined because of illness, New Jersey is 0-for-13 with the man advantage.

"We miss his big shot and the way he handles the puck back there," Robinson said. "It puts more of an onus on (Brian Rafalski and Paul Martin)."

Minnesota has lost three of four and six of its last eight games, scoring only 20 goals in that span. The Wild have been limited to 11 goals in those six defeats.

The team's hottest player now is rookie defenseman Kurtis Foster, who has four goals in five games since he was recalled from the minors two weeks ago.

Foster scored Minnesota's only goal in a 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

The Wild were outshot 46-20 and only the strong play of Dwayne Roloseon kept Minnesota in the game.

"Dwayne made some great saves," Lemaire said. "We were playing a team that is good with the puck. Dwayne kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win."

Lemaire spent five seasons as coach of the Devils, guiding them to a Stanley Cup title in 1995.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 2): Wild - 23 points, 5th place, 11 PB, Northwest Division. Devils - 26 points, 3rd place, 11 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Wild - Brian Rolston, 9 goals; Pierre-Marc Bouchard, 12 assists and 19 points; Derek Boogaard, 53 PIM. Devils - Gionta, 16 goals and 27 points; Scott Gomez, 14 assists; Jamie Langenbrunner, 30 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 2): Wild - Power play: 19.5 percent (25 for 128), 8th in NHL. Penalty killing: 89.2 percent (124 for 139), 1st. Devils - Power play: 20.1 percent (28 for 139), 7th. Penalty killing: 85.1 percent (103 for 121), 5th.

GOALTENDERS: Wild - Manny Fernandez (7-3-2, 0 SO, 2.02 GAA); Roloson (3-8-1, 1, 2.56). Devils - Martin Brodeur (10-8-0, 3.13); Scott Clemmensen (2-2-2, 3.32).

2003-2004 SEASON SERIES: 0-0-1.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 17, 2004; Tied, 4-4 . At East Rutherford, N.J., The Wild could only manage a tie despite Marian Gaborik's hat trick. Gionta scored twice for the Devils.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Wild - 3-7-2 on the road; Devils - 7-4-1 at home.

Associated Press
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