Slumping Devils try to find offense in clash with Stars

11:42 AM, Jan 30, 2014   |    comments
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( - The New Jersey Devils are hoping to avoid a third straight setback when they visit the Dallas Stars for Thursday's battle at American Airlines Center.

New Jersey had won two in a row heading into Sunday's outdoor game against the New York Rangers at Yankee Stadium. The Devils were slammed by a 7-3 score in that Stadium Series clash in the Bronx and failed to rebound in Tuesday's 3-0 loss in St. Louis.

The Devils enter Thursday mired in a scoreless streak of 103 minutes, 53 seconds. New Jersey hasn't scored since taking a 3-1 lead late in the first period of Sunday's game against the Rangers, who scored six unanswered goals to cruise to victory at Yankee Stadium.

New Jersey sent 23 shots Jaroslav Halak's way on Tuesday, but the Blues goaltender turned aside every one of them. Cory Schneider recorded 22 saves for the Devils, who have lost four of their last six outings but are still only two points out of a playoff spot in the East.

"I thought we played a pretty solid road game," Schneider said. "Right now, solid isn't good enough against the elite teams in the league."

The Devils opened a three-game road trip on Tuesday and fell to 10-14-5 as the guest this season. New Jersey is scheduled to cap the swing tomorrow evening in Nashville.

New Jersey recorded a 1-0 home win over the Stars on Jan. 9. Schneider record the shutout with 26 saves and Michael Ryder scored the game's lone goal. It was New Jersey's third win in the last four meetings against Dallas, but the Stars have won five of the past six encounters in Texas.

The Stars hope to get back on track tonight after having a three-game win streak halted in Monday's home game against the Colorado Avalanche. Alex Tanguay scored the winner in the third period and Semyon Varlamov finished the game with 41 saves to help the Avs down Dallas, 4-3.

Tyler Seguin posted two goals and an assist in the loss while Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen made 17 saves for Dallas.

"It's a tough one. We had a couple of great opportunities late but just couldn't get it to go," said Dallas head coach Lindy Ruff. "We had probably five or six point-blank chances in the second to blow the game open but he (Varlamov) was there and made some saves."

Dallas has a 13-9-5 record on home ice this season and tonight they'll try to complete a five-game stay at American Airlines Center on a positive note.

With 56 points on the season, the Stars are tied with the Devils in the NHL standings, but Dallas is seven points out of a playoff spot in the West.

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