The New Jersey Devils have the luxury of playing six straight games at the Prudential Center, with their next road contest more than 2 1/2 weeks away.
While it seems like a favorable time to pile up points, they'll face several tough tests.
The Devils open a difficult homestand Tuesday night against a Winnipeg Jets team looking to avenge a home loss to New Jersey over the weekend.
The Devils (25-17-2) capped a four-game road trip Saturday with a 2-1 win over the Jets. Andrew Ladd got Winnipeg on the scoreboard first with his 15th goal of the season, but New Jersey answered with goals from Kurtis Foster and Patrik Elias in a 2:58 span midway through the third period to win for the fourth time in five games.
"We just need to keep winning games," coach Peter DeBoer said. "You see in this league, and you take your foot off the gas for a weekend, never mind a six-game homestand, and you can be on the bottom looking up pretty quickly. We're doing some good things, we're putting points in the bank on a regular basis and we need to continue to do that."
It seems like that could be tough during the next few weeks.
After the rematch with the Jets (21-19-5), the Devils face Northeast Division-leading Boston on Thursday and Philadelphia on Saturday. They'll later host the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers on Jan. 31 before playing their next road game Feb. 4.
New Jersey is currently sitting in sixth place in the East with 52 points, but four teams - including the Jets - are within five points.
"We need to be in that pack," Martin Brodeur told the Devils' official website. "Slowly you put some teams down, and Winnipeg is a team that's below us, so the two points we got from them was important and the ones from (Tuesday) will be even more important."
The Devils have taken two of three from the Jets this season and have won four straight over the Winnipeg franchise in New Jersey.
Brodeur has been in net for both victories over the Jets in 2011-12, stopping 43 of 46 shots. He has posted a 1.71 goals-against average in winning his last four starts against the former Thrashers.
The Devils could have center Adam Henrique back after he sat out Saturday because of a minor groin injury. Henrique, who is tied with Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Philadelphia's Matt Read for the rookie lead with 13 goals, had three in the first two games of the series with the Jets.
While the Devils have been off since Saturday, Winnipeg played Monday, beating Ottawa 2-0 to snap a three-game losing streak. Jim Slater scored 49 seconds in and Tobias Enstrom scored his second goal of the season for the Jets, who had lost five of six.
Winnipeg has scored 15 goals in its last nine games.
"I thought we've been looking for that game for the last couple of weeks," goaltender Chris Mason said. "We're a fairly low-scoring team and it seems one or two breakdowns have cost us lately, and I thought (Monday) the guys just did a wonderful job."
Mason made 25 saves for his second shutout, but likely won't start the second game of Winnipeg's back-to-back.
Ondrej Pavelec, who had started four straight games before getting the night off Monday, stopped 23 shots against the Devils on Saturday. He has been in net for all three games against New Jersey this season, posting a 2.33 GAA.
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