The New Jersey Devils will look to extend their four-game winning streak on Tuesday night when they skate against the Ottawa Senators at the Prudential Center. Goaltender Martin Brodeur will make his fifth consecutive start for the Devils. Here's what we'll be watching for:
First to .500: The Devils haven't been a .500 team all season -- except of course if you count their 0-0-1 start after an overtime loss to the Dallas Stars in their season opener. They'll have an opportunity to get back there on Tuesday night. The Devils (30-31-4), once 10-29-2, have crept within a game of the .500 mark for the first time since starting 1-2-1. They will come into action having won seven straight games at home and 20 of their last 24 overall (20-2-2).
Optional hero: The Devils held an optional skate on Tuesday morning. Only 12 players showed up, none of them named Mattias Tedenby. The rookie left winger will try to replicate his last performance after he skipped out on an optional skate on Feb. 8. He scored two goals that game, including the game-winner in overtime, as the Devils beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2. "I have the same feeling [as I did then] tonight," Tedenby said before the game.
One at a time: The Devils' players have continued to say they're taking it "one game at a time" during their improbable comeback playoff run. Ever since the second half began, every game has been a must-win for the Devils. And this upcoming stretch of five games could determine the fate of their season (yes, we've said this before). The Devils face Ottawa and the Atlanta Thrashers twice, while taking on the Islanders once. They need all 10 points. And the way they've been playing of late, they should get them; the key word of course, being "should."
Scoreboard watching: The Devils currently find themselves eight points back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 17 games remaining. The team ahead of them, the Buffalo Sabres, will also be in action on Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Sabres and Devils have both played 65 games. New Jersey needs a Buffalo regulation loss. Badly.