(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Jersey Devils hope to aid their fading playoff hopes with a fourth straight victory, as they continue a six-game homestand Monday against the Arizona Coyotes.
The Devils are 3-0 at the start of their current stay at Prudential Center, but the string of victories come on the heels of an 0-4-0 stretch that did serious damage to New Jersey's already slim playoff hopes. The club enters Monday 10 points out of a postseason spot in the Eastern Conference with only 23 games remaining on its schedule.
New Jersey used a strong opening period en route to its latest victory, scoring all three of its goals in the first on Saturday before coasting to 3-1 decision over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Tuomo Ruutu, Adam Henrique and Andy Greene each tallied in opening 20 minutes, with Greene completing New Jersey's scoring with 28 seconds left in the first stanza. It was Greene's first goal in 71 games.
Keith Kinkaid stopped all 17 Carolina shots he faced before leaving with an injury at 13:59 of the second period. The Devils backup netminder got hurt when he did a split while attempting to stop a rebound.
Cory Schneider made 14 saves in relief for New Jersey, allowing Jeff Skinner to score Carolina's lone goal with 6:04 remaining in the third period.
Schneider, who has started 50 of the Devils' 59 games this season, will start tonight and New Jersey has recalled Scott Clemmensen was recalled from the Albany Devils of the AHL to serve as his backup. Schneider is 3-1-1 with a stellar .99 goals against average in five career games against the Coyotes.
"You never say 'never' until they tell you you're out," Schneider said of his team's playoff hopes after Saturday's victory. "I think you've seen it. We've played well in spurts and we have to take advantage of home ice, beat the teams we should."
New Jersey is 14-8-7 as the host this season and is 10-2-3 in its last 15 home games. The club will host Calgary on Wednesday before completing the homestand Friday against Boston.
Arizona, meanwhile, is likely glad to get away from home and begin a four-game road trip. The Coyotes lost their eighth straight as the host on Saturday, dropping a 4-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The loss also marked the fifth straight defeat overall for Arizona and all five setbacks have come in regulation. The lowly Coyotes enter Monday having lost seven of their last eight.
Michael Stone and Mark Arcobello scored the goals Saturday's loss, while Mike Smith stopped 23 shots for Arizona.
"We had opportunities to tie it up and obviously we didn't and it ends up another loss," said Coyotes captain Shane Doan. "It doesn't really matter how it happened. We had another loss and we've got to find a way to focus on the next one."
Arizona fell to 9-16-4 as the host and the club isn't exactly setting the world on fire on the road this season either, going 11-16-3 away from the desert.
The Coyotes will stay in the Northeast part of the United States during this swing, visiting the Islanders and Rangers on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, before ending the trek Saturday in Boston.
Arizona has won the last three meetings with the Devils, who have dropped seven of nine in this series. The Coyotes also have claimed three of the past five encounters in the Garden State.