Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google

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
X
Share with your Friends


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 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51