Chicago Blackhawks (28-7-8) at New Jersey Devils (17-16-8)
7:00 PM ET • Prudential Center • MSG Plus, Sports Radio 66 AM & 101.9 FM WFAN
New Jersey will not have a morning skate. Head Coach Pete DeBoer will be available in the corridor outside of the Devils’ Locker Room at 4:45 PM. Select player availability to follow.
With a 2-1 win Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh, the Devils closed out the 2013 calendar year at 36-35-18=90pts.
New Jersey improved to 17-16-8=42pts on the season, going above NHL .500 for the first time since November 21, and now have points in seven of their last eight games (5-1-2=12pts).
The Devils have played an Eastern Conference-low (tie, Philadelphia) 18 home games entering tonight, but four of the team’s next five contests will be at Prudential Center.
New Jersey was 1/1 on the penalty kill Tuesday and is 17/18 (94.4%) over the past six games. The Devils have the league’s second-best penalty-killing record at home (53/58, 91.4%) behind Pittsburgh (48/52, 92.3%) and are ranked third (112/129, 86.8%) overall.
New Jersey is 3-7-4 vs. the Western Conference this season.
Tonight’s contest opens the club’s 12th of 22 sets of back-to-back games. The Devils are 3-5-3 in first games and 7-1-3 in second games when playing on consecutive dates.
Martin Brodeur (19 saves) earned the win on Tuesday and improved to 12-8-3 on the season. He’s now 5-1-1 with one shutout, a 2.26 goals-against average & .910 save-percentage in his last seven starts.
Brodeur also recorded his second assist of the seasonTuesday. With 2g-44a-46pts in his NHL career, he’s tied Grant Fuhr (46a) for second place all-time in scoring among goaltenders. Tom Barrasso is first with 48a. His 44 assists rank third behind Barasso, Fuhr and Patrick Roy (45).
Cory Schneider made 30 saves in his last start on December 28 at the New York Islanders and improved to 5-8-5 on the season.
Adam Henrique has scored in a career-high (tie, February 5-9, 2013, 3g) three consecutive games. He added an assist Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh for his first multiple-point game of the year. Henrique now has 3g-3a-6pts over his last seven games.
Michael Ryder also had 1g-1a-2pts Tuesday. He now has points in back-to-back games (1g-2a-3pts) and 3g-3a-6pts over his last seven.
Ryane Clowe collected the primary assist on Henrique’s goal on Tuesday, his first point since the home-opener vs. the New York Islanders on October 4.
Jaromir Jagr assisted on the game-winning goal on December 28 at the New York Islanders and now has 694g-1028a-1722pts in his NHL career. He trails his former teammate Mario Lemieux by just one point for seventh-place on the league’s all-time scoring list.
Jagr scored the 694th goal of his NHL career on December 21 at Washington and is now tied Mark Messier for seventh place all-time.
Devils vs. Blackhawks
Tonight’s game between the Devils and the Blackhawks marks the second/final meeting between the teams this season, and the only contest to be played at Prudential Center. Chicago won, 5-2, in the first meeting on December 23.
Stephen Gionta and Michael Ryder each scored for New Jersey, while Patrick Sharp had two goals to lead Chicago. Cory Schneider (32 saves) took the loss in goal for the Devils, while Antti Raanta (10 saves) won his first career start vs. New Jersey.
The Devils lead the all-time series 27-19-13, including a 15-7-7 mark in their previous 29 home games. New Jersey is 8-0-1 at home vs. Chicago since the 1999-00 season.
Jaromir Jagr leads all New Jersey skaters with 13g-14a-27pts in 27 career games vs. the Chicago, and Marian Hossa leads the Blackhawks with 17g-21a-38pts in 41 games vs. the Devils.
Martin Brodeur is 9-3-6 with one ShO, a 1.95 goals-against average and .933 save-percentage in 20 appearances vs. Chicago. Schneider is now 2-2-1 with a 3.44 GAA & .901 save % all-time vs. the Hawks.
Corey Crawford made 21 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss in his only start vs. the Devils on March 27, 2012. Jason LaBarbera is 1-1-0 with a 6.17 GAA & .800 save % in three career games vs, New Jersey, including one earlier this season while playing for Edmonton.
Jaromir Jagr needs six goals to reach 700 in his NHL career.
Anton Volchenkov needs three games to reach 200 with New Jersey.
Travis Zajac needs seven points to reach 300 in his NHL career.
Anton Volchenkov (total body soreness, 2 games missed) is day-to-day.
Damien Brunner (lower body, 5 games missed) was placed on Injured Reserve on December 27, retroactive to December 20
Peter Harrold (non-displaced foot fracture, 10 games missed) was placed on Injured Reserve December 12, retroactive to December 7.
Adam Larsson (lower body, 18 games missed) was placed on Injured Reserve December 1, retroactive to November 23.
Total man-games lost to injury/illness: 166
Jan. 3: Placed forward Mattias Tedenby on non-roster waivers and activated forward Ryan Carter from Injured Reserve.
Dec. 28: Assigned forward Tim Sestito to Albany (AHL) and activated defenseman Bryce Salvador from Injured Reserve.
Dec. 27: Placed forward Damien Brunner on Injured Reserve, retroactive to December 20, and activated forward Ryane Clowe from Injured Reserve.
Dec. 18: Activated forward Stephen Gionta from Injured Reserve.