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Red Wings Try To End Last-Place Devils' Four-Game Winning Streak

(Sports Network) - The suddenly-hot New Jersey Devils will aim for a fifth straight victory when they visit the Detroit Red Wings for tonight's battle at Joe Louis Arena.

In addition to winning a season-best four straight games, the Devils have also recorded a point in seven consecutive outings. New Jersey had just one win in its 11 games prior to the current 6-0-1 stretch.

The Devils are still last in the NHL with 35 points, but are now only three points behind Edmonton for that dubious distinction. New Jersey is also two behind the New York Islanders for 14th in the Eastern Conference.

New Jersey's most recent triumph came Sunday against the visiting Florida Panthers as Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists to lead the Devils to the 5-2 decision at Prudential Center.

Kovalchuk, who was signed to a 15-year, $100 million contract this summer, has eight points (4g, 4a) in his last seven games. The Russian sniper has also posted 10 goals and nine assists in the last 24 games after compiling just 10 points (4g, 6a) in his first 23 contests this year.

Jason Arnott scored twice, Brian Rolston had a goal and an assist while Patrik Elias also scored for the Devils. Martin Brodeur stopped 24 shots for the win.

"Any streak of wins we'll take right now," said Brodeur. "Right now we feel like we're doing the right things and right now we'll take advantage of what's going on. It's nice to be having fun out there once again."

The Devils have won two straight and three of their last four road tests, but are still just 7-16-1 away from Newark this year.

Tonight, New Jersey will be visiting one of the best team in the Western Conference and also a team that the Devils haven't had much success against recently.

The Red Wings, who posted a 4-1 win in New Jersey on Dec. 11, have taken five of six and six of the last eight meetings between the clubs. New Jersey has also dropped eight straight and nine out of 10 in the Motor City.

With 64 points, Detroit is 29 ahead of the Devils in the NHL standings, but the Red Wings are just four in front of Chicago for the Central Division lead.

The Red Wings were dealt a loss by the rival Blackhawks in their most recent game, dropping a home decision to Chicago on Saturday. Corey Crawford stopped 36 shots to lead the way in Chicago's 4-1 victory at Joe Louis Arena.

Cory Emmerton had a goal in his first NHL game for Detroit while Jimmy Howard was tagged for all four goals on 33 shots for the Red Wings, who have lost four of their last six games.

"They were driving the net hard and getting on top of our defense all day," said Howard. "They were able to get inside and were able to battle for position. We have to forget about this game and come back ready to play."

It was the third loss in four home games for the Red Wings, who are 14-6-4 at the Joe this season.

Forward Valtteri Filppula missed Detroit's last game with the flu, but is expected to return tonight. The Red Wings are dealing with a rash of injuries as forwards Tomas Holmstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Mike Modano and Dan Cleary, as well as defenseman Brad Stuart and goaltender Chris Osgood, are all currently out for Detroit.