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Devils a different team since last Island trip

Friday, 03.6.2009 / 4:43 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils a different team since last Island trip
Brodeur is undefeated since returning from injury.
newjerseydevils.com – Two weeks ago at Nassau Coliseum, the Devils ended a frustrating road trip with a 4-0 loss to the last-place New York Islanders.

Coming off of a split in Florida and Tampa Bay, the Devils ran into New York’s Yann Danis, who stopped 40 shots to record his second career shutout and hand the Devils their first loss in five meetings with the Isles this season.

A lot has gone right for Jersey’s Team since then.

First, Martin Brodeur returned to the lineup and recorded two shutouts as the Devils swept last week’s three-game homestand. Leading scorer Zach Parise (38g-39a-77pts) dominated with back-to-back three-point games to finish the set with seven points (3g-4a). The Devils outshot their opponents 120-68.

Then, New Jersey extended its winning streak to four games Tuesday with a 3-2 overtime triumph at Toronto, courtesy of Johnny Oduya’s clincher with 11.4 seconds left in the extra frame.

Undefeated since Brodeur’s comeback, the Devils have outscored opponents, 17-4, on their current surge and return Saturday to Nassau, where they close out the season series against the Isles.

The Devils’ mindset will be different this time around. 

“That last visit was a little bit of a wake-up call for us on the way we were playing,” captain Jamie Langenbrunner said after Friday’s practice at AmeriHealth Pavilion. “We were giving up a lot of shots and a lot of chances, and getting away from our game a little bit. Give them credit, they played well and beat us up pretty good. Now we have to focus back on our game of playing good defense, getting a lot of shots and creating opportunities. We’re a different team coming in this time than we were 14 days ago.”

Brendan Shanahan commented that just as the Devils didn’t get down after that loss to the Isles, they’re not about to become overconfident, either.

“We didn’t come out of the Island feeling like the loss was any more meaningful than a poorly played game by us, and we’re not going to the Island thinking anything other than, ‘They don’t care that we’ve won four in a row,’” Shanahan said. “They’re going to try and beat us. If we strut in there with our chests out based on our past week’s resume, then we’re not going to play well. I don’t think that loss on the Island affected us, and I don’t think our last four games are affecting us. It’s how we show up [Saturday].”

The Devils (42-19-3, 87pts) continue to lead the Atlantic Division by nine points over second-place Philadelphia; two points ahead of Washington for second place in the Eastern Conference. New Jersey trails top-seeded Boston by six.

The Flyers have dropped three of four (1-2-1), while the Bruins are winless in three straight (0-2-1).

Brodeur has stepped in seamlessly for New Jersey, climbing to within three of both Patrick Roy’s all-time wins record (551), and Terry Sawchuk’s NHL shutouts mark (103). He has quickly quelled any concern that adding a four-time Vezina Trophy winner to the mix would somehow alter the Devils’ gameplan.

“People who said that don’t understand sports, or just don’t understand winners,” Shanahan said. “You can never not benefit from having a superstar with a championship resume like Marty’s. If Marty coming back had hurt our team, then we wouldn’t be the team that we think we are. I didn’t expect that to happen, and it hasn’t. People who think like that just don’t think the way we do.”

The new face in the lineup Saturday will be that of defenseman Niclas Havelid, acquired Monday along with a minor leaguer from Atlanta in exchange for defenseman Anssi Salmela.

Including the addition of Havelid, Brent Sutter’s team is healthy and whole with 18 games remaining. But don’t expect the head coach to sit back and relax now.

“You never rest easy. You never drop your guard,” Sutter said. “You’re always trying to find ways to make your team better, to play better. It’s a time of year when you want your group to be very focused because you know that in six weeks, the second season starts but you want to finish really strong and playing well. You don’t want any bad habits creeping into your game. I’ve learned a few things from last year that I’m not going to allow to happen this year.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 53 15 24 7 39
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
K. Palmieri 53 20 15 3 35
A. Henrique 51 17 16 14 33
T. Zajac 45 7 18 6 25
D. Schlemko 45 6 9 -9 15
A. Larsson 53 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 50 1 12 0 13
A. Greene 53 4 6 2 10
J. Josefson 42 3 7 -13 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 23 15 6 .929 2.03
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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