Devils close out road trip against Stars

Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg has been hot and cold during his club's current road trip. He was certainly on his game the last time he faced the Stars.

New Jersey looks to break even on its four-game swing tonight as it visits a Dallas club trying to rebound from its first home loss of the season.

Hedberg, thrust into the starting role due to Martin Brodeur's shoulder injury, has allowed nine goals over the Devils' two losses on this swing, sandwiched around a shutout victory over the Kings.

After stopping all 31 shots faced in a win at Los Angeles on Tuesday, Hedberg saw a season-high 42 pucks fired his way in Thursday's 5-3 setback to Phoenix. His five goals allowed were the most he has given up all season.

Zach Parise, Mark Fayne and Nick Palmieri scored for the Devils, with Fayne's second-period tally giving his club a one-goal lead. However, the Coyotes scored four straight following that tally.

"We were chasing from behind all night," said New Jersey head coach Peter DeBoer. "They came at us in the first period and dictated the play. We had a little bit of a pushback."

With Brodeur unlikely to return during this road trip, Hedberg will likely get the call again tonight. He was in top form in a 1-0 victory at Dallas last season, making 19 saves for his 17th career shutout.

That win snapped the Devils' four-game slide in Dallas and they haven't won two in a row there since victories on Jan. 24, 2001 and March 10, 2002.

The Stars did record a victory in New Jersey last year to split the two-game series.

Dallas might just be glad to see another team other than Los Angeles tonight. The Stars have dropped two of three since a five-game win streak, with both defeats coming to the Kings. The latest was on Thursday, a 5-3 home setback.

Trevor Daley, Michael Ryder and Eric Nystrom lit the lamp for Dallas, which fell to 4-1-0 at home this season and wraps a three-game residency on Friday versus Colorado. Jaime Benn added an assist to give him seven points in his last six games.

"That's a good hockey team over there and just like us, they weren't going to give up," Nystrom said. "They got that next one, that was key and made it tough for us to get another one. It's good to battle back like that and give ourselves a chance, but obviously the end result wasn't what we wanted."

Kari Lehtonen made 24 saves in defeat for the Stars, snapping his career-high seven-game win streak.

Prior to tonight's game, the Stars will honor Joe Nieuwendyk for his selection to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Nieuwendyk spent seven seasons with the Stars franchise, helping the club win a Stanley Cup in 1999. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP that year.

Nieuwendyk, who also won a championship with the Devils in 2003, logged 1,126 points over his NHL career.