NHL

Coyotes-Devils Preview

Although probably still a longshot, the New Jersey Devils are looking to make it interesting as they try to avoid missing the playoffs in three straight seasons for the first time in 28 years.

The Devils can continue to make up ground in the Eastern Conference race when they try for their longest winning streak in two years Monday night against the struggling Arizona Coyotes.

Following a four-game losing streak, New Jersey (24-26-9) has recovered by winning the first three games on its six-game homestand.

Defenseman Andy Greene scored for the first time in 71 games and Tuomo Ruutu and Adam Henrique ended shorter goal droughts in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Carolina.

The Devils, who haven't won four in a row since a five-game run in February 2013, still have plenty of work to do to earn a wild-card berth with several teams to pass and just 23 games left.

New Jersey hasn't missed the playoffs in three straight seasons since failing to qualify five consecutive times from 1982-87. This homestand began a stretch in which the Devils play nine of 10 at the Prudential Center, where they've gone 10-2-3 in the past 15.

''You never say never, until they tell you you are out,'' goaltender Cory Schneider said. ''There are teams ahead of us that we have to jump over but I think you see we've played well in spurts. We have to take advantage of home ice and beat teams we can beat, and we are doing that now.''

Schneider stopped 14 of 15 shots Saturday in relief of rookie backup Keith Kinkaid, who left in the second period after feeling discomfort in his lower leg. Schneider has gone 10-6-2 with a 1.78 goals-against average in his past 19 starts.

He's 3-1-1 with a 0.99 GAA in five starts against the Coyotes, winners of three straight meetings with the Devils and seven of nine.

Arizona (20-32-7) is last in the West with 2.19 non-shootout goals per game and has totaled 12 during a 1-6-1 stretch. Mark Arcobello and Michael Stone scored in the team's fifth straight defeat Saturday, 4-2 to visiting Tampa Bay.

"It doesn't really matter how it happened," captain Shane Doan told the team's official website. "We had another loss and we've got to find a way to focus on the next one."

The Coyotes have struggled on the power play, going 2 for 15 in their last eight games. That certainly doesn't bode well against a New Jersey team that has killed off all 10 penalties in its past four.

Arcobello has been a bright spot with three goals in four games since being acquired off waivers from Pittsburgh on Feb. 11. Leading goal scorer Oliver Ekman-Larsson, however, has one over his last six.

The Coyotes, beginning a four-game eastern road swing, have little chance to avoid missing the playoffs for a third straight season as they have the second-fewest points in the conference.

They haven't dropped six consecutive contests in regulation since Jan. 27-Feb. 7, 2009.

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