NEWS

The week ahead: March 29

Devils host Boston on Tuesday, Chicago on Friday; visit Carolina on Saturday

Monday, 03.29.2010 / 2:31 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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The week ahead: March 29
Brodeur entered Monday leading the League with 41 wins, and needs two more to reach 600 for his career.
Eighteenth straight winning season? Check. Thirteenth straight season in the playoffs? Check.

Even with those targets reached, there’s plenty to look for over the final seven games of the Devils’ 2009-10 regular season.

The Atlantic Division title is still up for grabs with Jersey’s Team trailing first-place Pittsburgh by two points with one game in hand. The Devils will play that extra game this week: they host Boston on Tuesday, Chicago on Friday, then head into Carolina on Saturday.

A victory over the Bruins would put them back atop the division with one more win than Pittsburgh. The Penguins complete a four-game homestand with games against Tampa Bay on Wednesday and Atlanta on Saturday. The defending Stanley Cup champs won twice this weekend to snap a three-game losing streak.

The Devils’ two games over the weekend – a 4-2 win at Montreal on Saturday followed by Sunday’s 5-1 defeat in Philadelphia – hinged on the play of their special teams.

A perfect 2-for-2 showing on the power play coupled with a 4-for-4 shutdown on the penalty kill was more than enough to topple the Canadiens. In Philadelphia, however, the power play wasted five opportunities, including four straight in the second period.

Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timmonen scored with the man advantage as the Devils dropped their third in a row when allowing a power-play goal (0-2-1). The good news? New Jersey's reliable PK has 21 kills in its last 23 chances.

On the scoring front, Ilya Kovalchuk simply continues to shine. He had the lone Devils goal in Sunday’s loss, and on Monday was named the NHL's Third Star for the week ending March 28.

Kovalchuk began the week ranked fifth in the League in goals, and riding a four-game points streak (3g-5a). He's on the verge of his sixth straight season with 40-or-more goals, which would be the longest run since Luc Robitaille (eight) and Brett Hull (six). Both of their streaks came to an end with the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season.

His skills as both a playmaker and finisher have helped reignite Brian Rolston, who’s on a three-game points streak of his own, with a goal and two assists. Both helpers came on Kovalchuk tallies, and Rolston’s empty-net marker at Montreal was the result of an unselfish set-up from Kovalchuk. The goal was Rolston’s 700th NHL point – he had gone scoreless in six games before his recent surge.

Martin Brodeur has cornered the market on career milestones and is steadily closing on yet another. He began the week leading the League with 41 victories, and needs two more to become the first goalie ever to amass 600.

Brodeur has already extended his own NHL record by reaching 40 wins for the eighth time in his Hall of Fame career. He’s well positioned to surpass his 44 wins of 2007-08, when he captured his fourth Vezina Trophy as top goaltender.

Career victory No. 600 could come as early as Friday against the Blackhawks – the same team Brodeur beat to notch his record-setting 552nd win last March.

Boston Sweep Party?
The Devils are 3-0 against the Bruins, and will be seeking their first sweep of the season series since 2005-06 on Tuesday. Boston had a two-point edge on Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the East heading into their matchup with Buffalo on Monday. The Bruins have won three of their last four, including a 5-0 whitewash of Calgary on Saturday.

The Devils beat the Bruins, 3-2, at Prudential Center in their last meeting on March 15.

Chi-town Showdown
A little payback will be in order when the Devils host the Blackhawks on Friday. It will be their first encounter with the Central Division leaders since the 'Hawks handed New Jersey a 5-1 loss at United Center on New Year’s Eve. Ex-Devil John Madden will be making his first return to the Rock since signing in Chicago last summer.

Chicago was just swept in a weekend home-and-home series with Columbus, who outscored them 12-5 in the two games.

Travel advisory
Since winning three straight on the road from Jan. 2-12, the Devils have gone 3-12-1 away from Newark. Early in the season, New Jersey was practically unbeatable on the road, establishing an NHL season-high nine-game road winning streak from Oct. 8 to Nov. 12. (San Jose later matched it with a nine-game road surge of their own from Dec. 21 to Feb. 8.)

It's been a different story at the Rock, where the Devils are 6-1-1 in their last eight.

After this week’s two-game homestand, the Devils head south for a six-day, three-game trip with stops in Carolina, Atlanta, and Florida. They host the Islanders and Sabres on the final weekend of the regular season, when the team celebrates Fan Appreciation Weekend.
 

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59