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NEWS

Gionta makes first return to New Jersey

Habs' winger excited to be back at Prudential Center

Friday, 01.22.2010 / 12:56 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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Gionta makes first return to New Jersey
Former Devil Brian Gionta.
Brian Gionta was back at Prudential Center on Friday, this time wearing bleu, blanc et rouge.

Now a member of the Montreal Canadiens, Gionta acknowledged it was special to be back in New Jersey, where he spent his first seven NHL seasons and won a Stanley Cup in 2003.

Friday's contest is the second and final Garden State meeting between the teams this season. The series concludes at Montreal on March 27.

“It’s definitely different,” Gionta said. “It’s a different feeling, but it’s always fun to play against guys you had been with for a while. That good-natured competitiveness is always fun to have.”

Gionta signed with Montreal as a free agent last summer and is on pace for his sixth straight season with at least 20 goals. He may have seen teammates come and go during his stay in New Jersey, but credits the Devils for always remaining competitive.

Jersey's Team (33-14-1) holds a four-point lead over Pittsburgh for first place in the Atlantic.

“One out, one in,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who comes and goes, somebody’s always there to fill that spot. It’s the philosophy of the organization.”

A broken left foot kept him out of action for 21 games this year, including the Canadiens’ visit to Newark on Dec. 16. He has 13 goals, 10 assists in 30 games with a Montreal squad currently three points out of a playoff spot.

The Habs are 1-2-2 in their last five, and have dropped back-to-back games on the road.

“It’s desperation time and we need wins,” he said. “We’ve got a good match tonight against a pretty good team.”

Though a longtime teammate of Martin Brodeur, Gionta doesn’t have any secrets on how to beat the Devils’ goaltender, who has compiled an incredible five shutouts in his last 14 starts.

Brodeur leads the NHL with 30 wins and seven shutouts.

“No, just trying to figure it out myself,” joked Gionta, whose 48-goal campaign in 2005-06 is a Devils record.

“It’ll be fun,” he said. “Obviously it’s the first time that it’s happened, so it’ll be exciting out there.”

The Devils own a 2-0 series lead courtesy of two 2-1 wins. Gionta went pointless in New Jersey’s visit to the Bell Centre on Jan. 9 and isn’t at all surprised by Brodeur’s success this season.

“Nothing different than it ever was,” he said. “You have to find a way as a team to solve him. You have to find a way to get to him. It’s no different than it’s ever been before. He’s having a good year like he always has, and he’s as steady as he’s ever been.”

One thing different about Gionta these days is his goatee, which wouldn’t have meshed with the Devils’ clean-shaven policy.

Gionta laughed when asked if it was something he’d wanted to grow all those years in New Jersey.

“You respect his (Devils’ President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello) rules and see why they’re in place,” he said. “It’s a little discipline that can make a big difference, so you abide by them and live by them when you’re here.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 61 26 31 4 157 191 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
M. Cammalleri 51 23 10 4 33
A. Henrique 56 12 20 -1 32
P. Elias 53 10 16 -13 26
S. Gomez 39 5 18 -9 23
M. Zidlicky 63 4 19 -7 23
T. Zajac 55 10 10 -4 20
S. Bernier 48 10 8 1 18
M. Ryder 44 6 12 -2 18
A. Larsson 45 2 16 3 18
M. Havlat 38 5 9 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 23 23 6 .927 2.19
K. Kinkaid 3 4 3 .915 2.59