Pittsburgh Penguins (29-11-1) at New Jersey Devils (16-16-8)
|Date & Time||Tuesday December 31, 2013, 1:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: New Jersey Devils +105 / Pittsburgh Penguins -116 --- Over/Under: 5
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If the New Jersey Devils are going to make a run at a playoff spot this season they're going to have to find a way to string a winning streak together. New Jersey has kept their head above water this year by accumulating points with losses and never really letting their losing streaks linger for too long. Now it's time they take the next step and assert themselves in the Metropolitan Division and there's no better place to start than Friday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Saturday night the Devils bounced back after a loss on Friday with a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders. Adam Henrique scored a first period goal for the Devils that looked like it would hold up in a game where New Jersey limited the Islanders to just 14 shots through two periods. In the third period the Islanders would get the equalizer but New Jersey answered right back when Travis Zajac's seventh goal of the year helped them regain a lead they would not relinquish. Cory Schneider got the start and was finally rewarded with another win despite his team's low scoring output yet again. Now the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town and they're absolutely on fire right now. The month of December has been a dominant one for the Penguins despite continuing to deal with numerous injuries all over the ice. Marc-Andre Fleury is having a very strong regular season and the good news is that Sidney Crosby hasn't been one of the players that's been dealing with injuries. As long as Crosby is healthy this Penguins team will be just fine because he's that good of a player. Sunday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets it was the James Neal show in Pittsburgh's 5-3 victory. Neal scored in each period with two of those goals coming on the power play as he recorded the hat trick and his 12th, 13th, and 14th goals of the season. Jeff Zatkoff got the start in place of Fleury and picked up his seventh win of the season. Chris Kunitz and Crosby also scored for the Penguins who improved their record to 29-11-1 on the season. This spread seems a little strange because of how well the Penguins have played and how mediocre the Devils have been but New Jersey has had Pittsburgh's number at the Prudential Center of late. The Devils are 7-1 the last eight games against the Penguins at home and the visiting club is 7-20 the last 27 in the series. Despite the series trends it's hard not to like Pittsburgh with the way they've been playing.