SHORT HILLS, N.J. — Trying to climb out of the NHL basement, the Senators run up against the league’s hottest team on Tuesday night.
The New Jersey Devils are 20-2-2 in their past 24 games under Jacques Lemaire. Mired at the bottom of the standings in the first half of the season, they now find themselves eight points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Senators are bracing for a “good challenge,” said Chris Phillips.
“They’re playing really well. They have to keep going like that to get into the playoffs and we have to expect their best.
“We know the type of game they play and we’ve got to ... be patient and when we do get quality chances, we’ve got to capitalize on them.”
It’s been a remarkable run by the Devils, who were 27 points out of a playoff spot two months, but will reach .500 with a win over the Senators.
They’re not looking ahead to the post-season just yet.
“I don’t think we’ll feel it now. Eight points is still a big margin to get in,” goaltender Martin Brodeur told the Newark Star-Ledger. “I think if we do get to (within) four or three points, that’s when we’ll have a really good chance. We’ll have to play the Rangers and Buffalo, so it’s going to be interesting.”