The New Jersey Devils will try to help their playoff chances with the club's first win in over two weeks when they host the Boston Bruins in Wednesday's battle at Prudential Center.
The Devils last earned two points in a game on March 23 against Florida, but the team has been keeping its head above water thanks to a bunch of overtime losses during their current seven-game losing streak. All seven of the losses have come with star winger Ilya Kovalchuk out of the lineup and he will miss an eighth straight game on Wednesday.
Thanks in large part to the 0-3-4 stretch, New Jersey has fallen outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Still, the club is only two points out of the final playoff spot with nine games left to play. The New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets are currently tied for the eighth seed. The Rangers host Toronto on Wednesday and the Jets have the night off.
Boston, meanwhile, is close to clinching a playoff spot with 54 points on the season. The Bruins are currently fourth in the East and are one point in back of Montreal for the Northeast Division lead. The B's, who hold a game in hand over Montreal, can pass the idle Canadiens with a win.
Considering their recent history against the Devils, Boston has a solid chance of passing the Habs on Wednesday. The Bruins are 2-0 against New Jersey in 2012-13 and have won six straight and 10 of the last 11 meetings between the clubs. The teams met last Thursday in Boston and the home team recorded a 1-0 win behind a goal from Jaromir Jagr and a 40-save performance by Tuukka Rask.
Boston, which is 11-7-2 on the road this season, also has claimed four of its past five games in the Garden State.
Wednesday's encounter is the third and final scheduled meeting between the Devils and B's this regular season.
New Jersey had lost three straight in regulation before getting a point in Sunday's 3-2 shootout loss at Buffalo. Nathan Gerbe scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Sabres the extra point.
Steve Sullivan and Mark Fayne scored one goal apiece for the Devils. Fayne's goal came shorthanded and tied the game at 2-2 with 5:46 left in regulation. Martin Brodeur made 24 saves in the setback and spoke after the game about his team's recent struggles.
"It's really concerning that we can't just win. That's the bottom line," Brodeur said. "We played one of the teams that we should beat, and I thought we deserved to beat them the way we played."
The Devils have lost two straight on home ice and are 10-7-2 as the host this season.
Boston has played two games since beating the Devils last week, losing Saturday's 2-1 regulation decision in Montreal before rebounding with a 6-2 rout of visiting Carolina on Monday.
Brad Marchand scored twice to lead the way in the Bruins' rout of the Hurricanes. Andrew Ference and Rich Peverley each posted a goal and an assist while Nathan Horton and Jordan Caron also scored for the Bruins, who won for the fourth time in five games.
Rask made 40 saves to improve his record this season to 17-6-4.
"Tuukka really played a great game for us tonight," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "He really made some great saves on some of the mistakes we made and they could have done a lot of damage."
It was Boston's third straight game without valuable two-way forward Patrice Bergeron, who is sidelined with a concussion. Bergeron, who is second on the team with 31 points and first with a plus-rating of 23, is out indefinitely.
Boston has lost three of its last four games on the road and is 11-7-2 as the guest this season.