Preds hope to extend surge against skidding Devils

( - The NHL-leading Nashville Predators try to match their longest winning streak of the season on Saturday night when they play host to the New Jersey Devils.

The Preds have taken the first two of a four-game homestand and have won four in a row overall. That is one shy of the season-high five straight they won from Jan. 6-16.

Nashville leads the NHL with 80 points, four up on the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division, and won for the 11th time in their past 12 home games with Thursday's 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

Pekka Rinne made 32 saves, while Shea Weber, Filip Forsberg and James Neal all scored. Weber finished with two assists in addition to his power-play marker as the Predators improved to 23-3-1 at home on the season.

"The division games always seem to be a little bit tougher. Our games against Winnipeg have been the same as what was tonight -- hard fought," said Preds coach Peter Laviolette. "They are capable of scoring goals -- we got some big saves from Pekka when we needed them. That's the way all the games have been with Winnipeg, whether we've won them or lost them. They have been hard fought battles."

Forsberg netted his NHL-rookie leading 19th goal of the season, breaking Alexander Radulov's franchise record for goals by a rookie set in 2006-07.

Rinne, meanwhile, leads the NHL with 32 wins and a 1.99 goals against average. He figures to get the start tonight and is 1-2-1 lifetime versus the Devils with a 2.42 GAA and .923 save percentage.

New Jersey aims to avoid a fourth loss in a row tonight and was bested 3-1 on Friday by the Chicago Blackhawks despite 32 saves from Cory Schneider. Peter Harrold had the lone goal for the Devils, who led 1-0 going into the third period.

"In a tough building against a good team, I thought we had a really good effort," said Schneider. "It's too bad."

New Jersey had won five of six before this losing streak and is 12 points back of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

It is unknown of Schneider will add to his NHL high-tying 47 starts this season tonight or if backup Keith Kinkaid will face the Predators for the first time. Schneider is 0-0-1 in two career meetings with Nashville, posting a 4.42 GAA and .842 save percentage.

These two clubs split two meetings last season, with each team winning at home. Nashville is 3-5-2 all-time as the host against New Jersey.