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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 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 40 10 16 -1 26
J. Jagr 43 9 16 -10 25
M. Cammalleri 35 15 6 -3 21
P. Elias 37 6 14 -14 20
M. Zidlicky 47 4 16 -7 20
M. Ryder 42 6 12 -2 18
T. Zajac 39 8 8 -7 16
S. Gomez 23 4 12 -5 16
S. Bernier 32 6 7 1 13
M. Havlat 29 5 7 -10 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 19 4 .920 2.41
K. Kinkaid 1 3 3 .913 2.54