(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Jersey Devils will shoot for a second straight win when they cap a three-game homestand at the Prudential Center with Saturday's battle against the Florida Panthers.
The Devils had lost three in a row to begin January before edging the Dallas Stars by a 1-0 score on Thursday. It marked the sixth time in the last seven games that New Jersey played in a game decided by one goal.
Michael Ryder registered the game's only goal and Cory Schneider notched a 26- save shutout in Thursday's close win. Ryder scored his 15th of the season in the second period to provide Schneider with all the support he would need, as the 27-year-old netminder turned away all comers to secure his third shutout of the season and 12th of his career.
"I had to be good at the moments I had to be good, but I thought, as a group, we had to earn this 1-0 win as a team," Schneider said.
Schneider will get the call again in net tonight and the Devils hope he can get on a roll. He hasn't won consecutive decisions since beating Detroit and Pittsburgh on Dec. 6 and 13, respectively.
Although the 27-year-old Schneider is sporting an excellent 2.02 goals against average and a solid .918 save percentage in his first season with the Devils, his record is only 6-9-5. Meanwhile, fellow Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur is 12-9-4 with a .902 save percentage and a 2.39 GAA.
The Panthers enter Saturday having won two of three games to begin January. Florida posted a shootout win Thursday in Buffalo and tonight it will try to win consecutive contests for the first time since a five-game winning streak from Dec. 10-19.
Florida notched a 2-1 decision over the Sabres, as Brad Boyes scored in regulation and notched a fortunate goal in the shootout to lift the Panthers to the close win at First Niagara Center. Boyes is riding a five-game point streak and has three goals and four assists during the run.
The Panthers had a potential go-ahead goal late in regulation denied due to a quick whistle, and Jonathan Huberdeau had his chance in the second round of the shootout waved off when, upon replay, it was ruled he pushed Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth into the net as the puck crossed the goal line.
Boyes, though, finished off Florida's win in the next round, as his wrister hit off the post, then bounced off the back of Enroth's sweater for the deciding tally.
"The way we played we should have had two points ... and we found a way," said Boyes, who is 6-for-9 in shootout tries this season.
Tim Thomas stopped all three chances he faced in the shootout and finished with 23 saves.
The Panthers are closing out a three-game road trip on Saturday. They are 1-1-0 on the swing and 8-12-2 as the guest this season.
New Jersey has won two of three and four of the last six meetings with the Panthers overall and the Devils have claimed two straight, three of four and 13 of the past 17 encounters in the Garden State.