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With 12 Games To Play, Struggling Devils Aiming To Hold Onto Playoff Spot

Martin Brodeur (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Martin Brodeur (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — After opening the season with points in 11 of 12 games and the best record in the Eastern Conference, the New Jersey Devils appeared ready to coast into the playoffs.

It’s all been downhill since then.

With 12 games to play in the lockout-shortened 48-game season, the defending Eastern Conference champions are barely hanging on to their postseason ticket. They have slipped to seventh in the conference after a four-game losing streak and lead the rival Rangers and Islanders by a mere two points.

Even more concerning is that star forward Ilya Kovalchuk is going to miss a few more weeks after hurting his shoulder March 23.

But the Devils remained confident Tuesday. They rallied to make the playoffs last season, and they believe they can do it again.

Will the Devils prevail and make the playoffs? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)