Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Stringing Together Victories Is Elusive

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Stringing Together Victories Is Elusive

Article excerpt

RALEIGH, N.C. - If the Devils are serious about surprising people and making the playoffs, they are going to have to find a way to string together some victories at some point.

It's been nearly a month and a half since they've done it now following their 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night at PNC Arena.

Defenseman Justin Faulk's goal 8:47 into the third period snapped a 1-1 tie and stood up as the game-winner as the Devils remained one point behind Ottawa for the second wild card spot in the East.

After Hurricanes captain Eric Staal knocked away Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas' stick on the rush, he fed Faulk as the trailer for a shot from between the circles that beat goaltender Cory Schneider low to the glove side. Joakim Nordstrom beat Schneider to the short side with a left-circle slap shot with 3:14 remaining to seal it for the Hurricanes.

The Devils have not won consecutive games since Nov. 12 (3-2 win at Chicago) and Nov. 14 (4-0 home win over Pittsburgh). Following three days off for Christmas, they were looking to build off a 4-3 win in Detroit on Tuesday night and finally start a push that would solidify their position in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Between the Christmas break and the All-Star break at the end of January is usually when teams start to separate themselves, and the Devils would like to end up on the positive side of that separation.

"This is the time of year now where you've got to start putting together streaks if you want to be a playoff team," Schneider said.

"We can be a good team or a nice team, but unless we start kind of distancing ourselves from the teams behind us or start catching teams in front of us, it's not going to mean much."

Schneider had to make a handful of good saves in the first period to keep the game scoreless, including a blocker stop on Elias Lindholm's open shot from the right circle just 25 seconds in. …

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