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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, December 13th (All times Eastern)

New Jersey Devils (12-14-6) at Pittsburgh Penguins (21-10-1), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will aim for a seventh victory in eight games when they welcome the struggling New Jersey Devils for Friday's Metropolitan Division battle at CONSOL Energy Center.

Pittsburgh not only has won six of its past seven games but also is sporting a 9-2-1 mark over its last 12 games.

The division-leading Penguins also boast a 13-3-0 home record this season and have won six straight in the Steel City since last losing as the host on Nov. 13 against Philadelphia.

Although the Devils have won four of the last five meetings against the rival Penguins overall, including a 4-1 victory in New Jersey when the clubs last met on Nov. 16, Pittsburgh has claimed three of four and seven of the last nine games at CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins recorded a 3-0 home win over New Jersey back on Oct. 3 in the season opener for both teams.

The Pens bounced back from a loss in their most recent outing, posting a 2-1 regulation win over visiting Columbus on Monday after blowing a late lead in Boston on Saturday.

Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby both lit the lamp to lift the Penguins to the close win over Columbus. The win briefly gave Pittsburgh possession of first place in the Eastern Conference, but the Bruins regained that distinction with Tuesday's win over Calgary. With 46 points, Boston is currently three ahead of the Pens for the top spot in the East.

Olli Maatta, Deryk Engelland, Pascal Dupuis and Jussi Jokinen supplied the assists on the Malkin and Crosby goals, while Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 32-of-33 shots to help the Pens down the Blue Jackets.

The Pens played Monday without winger James Neal and defenseman Brooks Orpik and neither player is available for tonight. Neal is serving the second test of a five-game suspension for kneeing Boston's Brad Marchand in the head during last Saturday's game versus the Bruins.

Orpik, meanwhile, is out indefinitely with a concussion suffered in the same game. During a scrum on Saturday, Orpik was pulled down from behind by Boston's Shawn Thornton, who then began throwing punches at the unsuspecting player. Orpik was carried off the ice on a stretcher and taken to a local hospital.

Thornton's probable suspension is expected to come down today, as the Boston enforcer has an in-person hearing scheduled with the league on Friday.

Like Pittsburgh, the Devils also faced the Blue Jackets in their last outing, but Jersey coughed up a 3-1 lead on Tuesday en route to losing in regulation at Columbus. Nick Foligno was credited with the game-winning goal when Ryan Johansen's pass went in off his skate with 91 seconds remaining, lifting the Blue Jackets to a 5-4 comeback win at Nationwide Arena.

The Devils lost despite taking a 1-0 lead just 32 second into the game. New Jersey eventually pushed its cushion to 3-1 after Damien Brunner's goal at 1:08 of the second period. Columbus then scored the next three goals to take a 4-3 lead before Brunner tied it with his second tally of the game with 6:01 left in the third.

The only goal after that was the one that went off Foligno's skate with 1:31 remaining in the contest.

"It's tough to get scored against late in a game like that with the points sitting there for us," said Brunner.

In addition to Brunner's two-goal performance, Travis Zajac and Michael Ryder also scored for the Devils, who fell to 3-6-1 in their last 10. Martin Brodeur allowed five goals on just 23 shots in the loss.

Anton Volchenkov injured his neck in the recent loss to Columbus, but the veteran defenseman expects to play on Friday. Volchenkov has four assists in 24 games this season.

Cory Schneider will get the start in net tonight for the Devils. His only appearance against the Pens came in the loss on Oct. 3, when Schneider allowed all three goals on 21 shots.

Fleury is 16-21-4 with a 2.52 goals against average in 41 career tests against the Devils. He expects to get the call between the pipes on Friday.

12/13 10:49:34 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 3
DUR 5
 
Final
PIT 0
CAR 10
 
5:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
7:35pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CIN 7
CHC 2
Final
DET 3
NYY 2
Final
SFG 4
COL 1
Final
BAL 5
TAM 4
Final
NYM 1
ATL 6
Final
CWS 2
CLE 3
Final
KAN 5
MIN 11
Final
HOU 4
TEX 2
Final
ANA 4
OAK 3
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
MIN
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
BOS
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
PHI
 
7:35pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
CLE
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
DET
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
TEX
 
8:15pm Tonight
STL
CHC
 
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
COL
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
LOS
 
10:10pm Tonight
SEA
WAS
 
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
MIL
 
Final
SCAR 28
TEXAM 52
Final
LAMON 17
WAKE 10
Final
MISS 35
BSU 13
Final
TULSA 38
TULA 31
Final
WASU 38
RUTG 41
Final
ARST 45
WEBER 14
Final
VANDY 7
TEMPL 37
7:00pm Tonight
UCONN
BYU
7:30pm Tonight
WKENT
BGU
7:30pm Tonight
MSU
JVST
9:00pm Tonight
COL
COLST
9:00pm Tonight
HOU
TXSANANTO
10:30pm Tonight
ARZ
UNLV
Final
JAC 14
ATL 24
 
Final
BUF 0
DET 23
 
Final
CIN 35
IND 7
 
Final
GBP 34
KAN 14
 
Final
PHI 37
NYJ 7
 
Final
MIA 14
STL 13
 
Final
PIT 0
CAR 10
 
Final
NYG 16
NEP 13
 
Final
TAM 10
WAS 24
 
Final
NOS 13
BAL 22
 
Final
CLE 33
CHI 13
 
Final
DAL 3
DEN 27
 
Final
TEN 3
MIN 19
 
Final
HOU 13
SFX 40
 
Final
SDC 12
ARI 9
 
Final
OAK 41
SEA 31
 
Final
NOR 3
DUR 5
 
5:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
7:35pm Tonight
NOR
DUR