Devils aim to rebound vs. road-warrior Canucks

The New Jersey Devils will play host to the Vancouver Canucks on Friday at Prudential Center, each team coming off the NHL's Thanksgiving break.

The Devils (12-5-4) are playing the second game in a two-game homestand, having lost to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday 3-2 in a shootout. It's also the second time the Devils and Canucks have played this month; New Jersey defeated Vancouver 2-0 on Nov. 1.

Boston jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead against New Jersey on Wednesday before the Devils rallied, tying the game on Brian Gibbons' goal with 4:44 remaining in regulation. The Bruins went on to win in an 11-round shootout.

"We didn't play the first period the way wanted, and then it's hard to win games. But we had chances," Devils forward Nico Hischier said. "Especially me -- I have to bury a couple. If we bury those, we get out with the (win)."

It will be the third of a six-game trip for Vancouver (11-8-3), which defeated the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins in a Pennsylvania back-to-back Tuesday and Wednesday. The Canucks won those games by a combined 9-4, including a 5-2 win over the Penguins on Wednesday. Vancouver is 8-3-0 on the road, tied with the St. Louis Blues for the most road victories in the NHL.

Defenseman Eric Gudbranson left the game in Pittsburgh during the second period due to an upper-body injury. Vancouver said he would be re-evaluated.

Canucks forward Brock Boeser, who scored twice against the Penguins, is on a four-game goal streak and a two-game multi-goal streak, and he has scored six goals in his past four games. He leads all Canucks with 11 goals this season. The rookie has scored 15 in his first 28 NHL games, which includes four goals in nine games at the end of the 2016-17 season.

"I've learned if your confidence gets too high you won't produce, so I like to stay even-keel," Boeser said. "I have the same approach every game. I know some of the things I need to be better at and fix those and continue to improve my game."

Devils goaltender Cory Schneider is expected to start Friday, which would be his ninth career game against the team that selected him in the first round of the 2004 draft.

Vancouver traded Schneider to New Jersey in 2013 for the No. 9 pick in that draft. The Canucks used that selection to take forward Bo Horvat, who is third on the Canucks with 16 points this season and leads all Vancouver forwards in average time on ice.

Schneider is 5-1-2 against Vancouver, with a .940 save-percentage and one shutout, which came earlier this month when he stopped all 37 shots in a New Jersey victory.

The Devils and Canucks both enter Friday in the top eight in their respective conference standings, a good barometer for which teams will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Since 2006, more than three-quarters of the teams in playoff spots on Thanksgiving went on to reach the postseason. Last season, Vancouver and New Jersey both failed to make the playoffs.

Friday is also the Devils Hockey Fights Cancer Night, part of month-long initiative created by the NHL to raise awareness for cancer and money for research. Devils forward Brian Boyle, who was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia during training camp and missed the first 10 games, will take part in the ceremonial faceoff; the puck will be dropped by Boyle's family and a youth patient from a local hospital.
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