Wed, 01 Feb 2023

Devils host Predators, aim to extend hot streak in new month

Field Level Media
01 Dec 2022, 06:19 GMT+10

The New Jersey Devils will aim for their fourth straight win and 17th in their past 18 games on Thursday when they host the Nashville Predators in Newark, N.J.

The Devils answered the lone misstep in that stretch -- a loss to Toronto on Nov. 23 -- with multi-goal victories over Buffalo, Washington and the New York Rangers. The 5-3 win over the Rangers in the Hudson River Rivalry on Monday allowed New Jersey to conclude November with a 13-1-0 record, with only four teams in NHL history having recorded more victories in a single calendar month.

"It feels good, but we're not where we want to be yet," Devils captain Nico Hischier said. "We've still got tons of hockey left. We're really happy with our start, but we're not even halfway through. You can't buy anything with that, so we've just got to keep improving, keep getting better. That's our goal."

Speaking of goals, New Jersey improved to 9-0-0 this season in games in which Jack Hughes scores a goal.

Hughes scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season on Monday and fifth in his past three games. He has 23 of his club high-tying 26 points over his past 17 games.

Yegor Sharangovich collected two goals against the Rangers to boost his point total to eight (five goals, three assists) in his past seven games. That surge has come on the heels of being held off the scoresheet in eight of his previous nine games.

Vitek Vanecek made 35 saves to record his 11th win on Monday and join Sean Burke as the lone goaltenders in franchise history to claim that many victories in their first 15 appearances with the club. Burke accomplished the feat spread over the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons.

Defenseman John Marino (upper-body injury) did not practice on Wednesday and is considered day-to-day, the team said.

Like New Jersey, Nashville also is enjoying a pronounced hot streak. The Predators improved to 5-1-1 in their past seven games following a 2-1 overtime victory against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.

Captain Roman Josi scored at 3:50 of the extra session and Matt Duchene notched two assists for the Predators, who have ventured past regulation in three of their past four games (2-0-1).

"We probably shouldn't have (gone to overtime) tonight," Duchene said. "They got some good goaltending. So did we obviously in the third, but we have to find ways to ramp it up a little bit and put them away earlier ... But we got it done, so keep building."

Josi collected a goal and an assist in both victories against New Jersey last season.

Juuse Saros turned aside 52 of 56 shots to pick up the win in both meetings and improve to 5-0-1 with a 1.77 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in six career meetings with the Devils.

On Tuesday, Nashville played in its first game since having two contests postponed following a water main break that flooded Bridgestone Arena on Friday.

The Predators will open a three-game trek looking to put a stop to their road woes. They are 3-6-0 away from the Music City this season.

--Field Level Media

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