(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils are in the midst of a three-game slide, but they hope the return of their franchise goaltender can get them back in the win column tonight.
Martin Brodeur is expected to man the crease for the first time since November 18 when the Devils visit the Ottawa Senators this evening at Scotiabank Place.
Brodeur has been sidelined with a bruised elbow, but made his return to the bench Monday in Pittsburgh, serving as the backup to Johan Hedberg in New Jersey's 2-1 loss to the Penguins. He is expected to get the start tonight.
"I've been 100 percent for a while," Brodeur said. "Just now, with three hard practices in a row, I should have shaken off all the cobwebs that I need to shake. I'm good to go, that's for sure."
Brodeur, the NHL's all-time leader in wins and shutouts, is just 4-10-1 with a 2.74 GAA this year, but he is 34-19-0 with four ties and a 2.18 GAA in his career against the Senators.
The Devils are hoping to get back to where they were at the end of last month. New Jersey had won three of four games to close November, but it has dropped the first three games of the new month.
New Jersey has been outscored by a 12-5 margin during its current losing streak, but is coming off a close regulation loss in its last outing. The Devils were dealt a 2-1 setback Monday night in Pittsburgh, dropping the middle test of a three-game road trip that ends tonight.
Sidney Crosby notched the eventual game-winning goal in the second period and added an assist in Monday's victory over the Devils. Brian Rolston notched the lone goal for the Devils and Hedberg was strong in defeat, stopping 32 shots.
"Hedberg was great again for us," Rolston said. "We have to find a way to win these games."
The Devils have lost six straight on the road and John MacLean's club has an awful 4-11-0 record away from home this season.
Ottawa hasn't fared well lately either. The Senators lost to the New York Rangers on Thursday, marking their fifth loss in six games.
The loss to the visiting Rangers was the second straight setback for Ottawa. The game was tied late in the third period, but Mike Sauer scored his first career goal, a power-play tally, to lift New York.
Mike Fisher scored twice and Jason Spezza tallied his seventh goal for Ottawa, which fell to 1-4-1 in its last six games.
"This was a frustrating loss," said Fisher. "I thought for the most part we played solid and we were feeling good going into the third period, but we let it slip away."
Ottawa goaltender Brian Elliott allowed four goals on 27 shots.
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson hopes to get his offensive game back on track tonight. The veteran Swede has gone without a point in nine straight games, marking the longest drought of his career.
Ottawa has lost four straight on home ice and is 7-8-1 as the host this season. The Sens will cap a three-game homestand Monday against Atlanta.
New Jersey won three of four meetings against the Sens last season and has taken 12 of 15 overall in the series. The Devils have also claimed victory in five of seven and six of their last nine games in Ottawa.
Tampa Bay Lightning (15-10-3) at Edmonton Oilers (10-12-5), 9pm et/6pm pt
The Edmonton Oilers will try to record a point for a sixth game in a row this evening, but will have to do so without captain Shawn Horcoff as they play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Rexall Place.
The Oilers had won four straight before a 3-2 shootout loss to Anaheim on Tuesday. The final session went 10 rounds before the Ducks' Cam Fowler scored the game-winner.
Ryan Jones and Dustin Penner scored 3:10 apart in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit for the Oilers, who are 5-1-1 in their last seven games. Nikolai Khabibulin finished with 30 saves in the losing effort.
Edmonton, though, lost Horcoff to a right knee injury when he collided with Anaheim's Corey Perry in the first period. Horcoff, who has seven goals and eight assists this season, is expected to miss several weeks and joins Ales Hemsky (groin) on the sidelines.
"You look for the silver lining, obviously -- I'm a glass half full kind of guy," head coach Tom Renney told his team's website. "It does provide us opportunity to look at the depth of our system, and we do have options and that's exciting. That does not change the fact that we're going to miss two crucial pieces to our team."
Edmonton is 1-0-1 on a six-game homestand and 4-6-2 overall at Rexall Place this year.
The Lightning kicked off a three-game swing through western Canada on Tuesday with a 4-2 setback in Calgary. Tampa Bay allowed the first three goals of the game, including two in the first period.
"We played the second, we played the third, but when you waste 20 minutes, you have a tendency not to come back," said Lightning head coach Guy Boucher. "Even if you do come back, it doesn't excuse the first period and doesn't make us worthy of winning this game."
Johan Harju scored the first goal of his NHL career and Ryan Malone also tallied for the Lightning, who have lost four of six since a five-game win streak. Dan Ellis was charged with all four goals on 19 shots.
Tampa Bay, which visits Vancouver on Saturday, is 8-8-1 on the road this season.
These two clubs met just once last year, with Edmonton scoring a 3-2 victory in Tampa. It was the Oilers second straight victory over the Lightning after a four-game series losing streak and they have won three of their last five at home in this series.
Calgary Flames (12-15-2) at Anaheim Ducks (14-13-4), 10pm et/7pm pt
The Calgary Flames have struggled on the road as of late and tonight try to snap an 11-game losing streak in Anaheim as they visit the Ducks and the Honda Center.
The Flames have lost eight of their last 10 on the road, including last night's 2-1 setback in Los Angeles. Olli Jokinen scored the only Flames goal on a power play with 3:21 remaining in the game, while Miikka Kiprusoff allowed two goals on 32 shots in defeat.
Calgary fell to 5-9-2 as the road club this year and has alternated wins and losses over its last nine games overall.
Calgary head coach Brent Sutter was unhappy with his team's play, particularly their lack of "push back" in the second period when the Kings still only led by a goal.
But "we had urgency in our game the last seven minutes after we were down a couple," said Sutter.
Sutter's club will try to pick up its first victory at Anaheim since Jan. 19, 2004, though it did split four games overall with the Ducks a season ago. Anaheim has won seven of the last 10 meetings overall, while the home club has won five straight and 10 of the last 11 meetings.
The Ducks return home after splitting a pair of road games in the shootout. After a 3-2 victory in Edmonton on Tuesday, Anaheim was dealt a 5-4 setback in Vancouver the following night.
Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle was not happy with the officials after his club blew a two-goal lead. Edmonton cut it to one on a goal with netminder Cutis McElhinney down on the ice after getting hit in the mask on a shot. He had to be helped off the ice, bleeding from the forehead.
"Four sets of eyes out there. There are two linesmen that are supposed to make the call out there and that clearly is cut and dried," Carlyle said.
McElhinney made 24 saves, while Jonas Hiller stopped 12-of-13 shots faced to take the loss.
Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry both had a goal and an assist and both Cam Fowler and Joffrey Lupul added goals as the Ducks lost for the third time in four games.
The Ducks play two straight at home, where they have lost five of seven and are 9-6-1 this season.