Cory Schneider’s presence in net and a sluggish power play are the only recent consistencies for the New Jersey Devils.
With Schneider likely to tie a franchise record for consecutive starts, the Devils are hoping the potential return of Adam Henrique can get the power play going Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Jets.
Schneider has started all 18 games for the Devils (8-8-2), compiling a 2.71 goals-against average while going 8-7-2. That streak could be in jeopardy during this four-game trip through Western Canada after New Jersey recalled veteran backup Scott Clemmensen from Albany of the AHL.
Clemmensen, though, allowed four goals on 17 shots in two appearances before being shipped to the minors earlier this month.
Schneider’s 1.64 GAA while winning two of three career meetings with the Jets (9-7-3) may be reason enough to give him the nod as the Devils start an eight-game stretch with seven on the road. He had 24 saves and turned aside three shootout attempts in a 2-1 home win Oct. 30.
Another start would tie Martin Brodeur’s team record of 19 straight to begin 2001-02. Schneider is already the first goaltender to get the call this many times to start a season since 2007-08, when Evgeni Nabokov started the first 43 for San Jose and Miikka Kiprusoff went 23 straight for Calgary.
Schneider had 26 saves Saturday, but gave up two unanswered goals 4:37 apart in the third period in a 3-2 loss to Colorado.
"I thought he was excellent," coach Pete DeBoer said. "He let in two goals. I thought he was good. I didn’t think fatigue was an issue. He looked good all night. This one’s not on him."
DeBoer has more concerns with the power play, which has scored on only 1 of 21 chances during New Jersey’s 2-5-0 stretch. The unit was 10 for 38 through the first 11 games.
"(The) power play has been a little bit of an issue," DeBoer said after the power play went 0 for 2 versus the Avalanche. "That’s something that we have to get better at. We could have used a power play goal. That would have been the difference (and) we couldn’t find one."
Perhaps having Henrique back will help.
The center is traveling with the team after missing six games with an undisclosed injury, and he’s scored two of his four goals on the man advantage. He had seven power-play goals last season and led the Devils with a career-high 25 overall.
Henrique, though, hasn’t found the net in his last six meetings with Winnipeg.
The Jets are opening a three-game homestand following a 2-2-1 trip that concluded with Sunday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Minnesota. However, coach Paul Maurice came away encouraged after Winnipeg’s three-goal, third-period rally forced the extra session.
"I’m really, really proud the way they handled a couple of real bad breaks there in the first period that would have shattered most teams," Maurice said. "We got a little snarl on and fought our way back."
Like the Devils, the Jets could use some improvement on the power play, which ranks 28th in the NHL at 9.7 percent after coming up empty on eight chances Sunday.
Andrew Ladd, who netted the tying goal Sunday, has two of Winnipeg’s six power-play tallies, and his seven overall trail only Blake Wheeler’s eight.
Ladd has four goals and one assist in his last three home meetings with New Jersey.