Sitting on the bench behind Martin Brodeur the past two games has seemed like an eternity for Devils goalie Cory Schneider. In reality, it’s been a week since he last played.

Battling his way back from a concussion has felt like an eternity to left winger Ryane Clowe. In his case, it pretty much has been an eternity since he last played a game on Oct. 13 in Winnipeg.

Clowe’s wish of playing a game before Christmas may be fading. He is unlikely to play in either of the next two. But Schneider will be back in net Friday night when the Devils host the Ducks at Prudential Center.

“Right now Marty has been real sharp,” Schneider said. “He stole that first game (3-0 over Tampa Bay Saturday night) and gave us a good chance last night (5-2 over Ottawa).

“For me, it’s not so much the pressure of, ‘I have to have a shutout here or I’m not going to play again.’ It’s just keeping us in the game against a good team and giving us a chance to win. Hopefully the way we’ve been playing lately, if I’m sharp and make it tough on them, we’ll get enough offense and win.”

A victory would give the Devils their first three-game winning streak since they beat the Penguins, Ducks and Kings Nov. 16-21.

“We’ve got to string some winning streaks together, whether they’re three games, four games, six games. That’s in general over the last 45-50 games we have left,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “That’s going to separate you from the pack. We have to be that team that has that ability.”

Schneider is looking for his first win since Nov. 30 over the Sabres. He is coming off a 3-2 loss in Pittsburgh last Friday in which he allowed a goal 41 seconds into the game and three in the first period.

“It was obviously a tough start. I felt better the second two periods,” Schneider said. “It obviously wasn’t quite as busy, but I settled in and felt sharp. I think it’s important tomorrow to get off to a good start, make a few saves, a couple of big saves early, and just kind of get myself right into it.”

Clowe, it seems, will have to wait. He hasn’t played since being elbowed in the head by Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba almost 10 weeks ago.

“I talked to the coach and Lou (Lamoriello). I pretty well let them know I was feeling good. I’m not sure what they want to do,” Clowe said. “I kind of get the sense they want me to travel with the team and maybe have a couple more pregame skates and practices, then take it from there.