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Devils seek important win in Montreal

Wednesday, 10.20.2010 / 4:28 PM / News
By Eric Marin
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Devils seek important win in Montreal
Arnott says goals will come for talented Devils squad.
Whether it’s the European feel or the hockey-mad atmosphere, Montreal always tops the list of players’ favorite road trips.

But the Devils’ first visit to the Bell Centre represents more than just a pleasant two-day getaway. With one win in their first six games, they also hope to earn a crucial two points in Thursday’s meeting with the Canadiens (3-1-1).

“It’s very important,” said Jason Arnott. “We want to build our confidence up. We have a long road trip coming and obviously we want to get off to a good start here. It’s all about confidence in here. If everybody’s firing on all cylinders and we’re feeling good about ourselves, hopefully that will be able to transpire in a game. That’s got to start tomorrow.”

Since falling to Boston on Saturday, the Devils (1-4-1) have spent four days resting up and smoothing out wrinkles in their play. Their recently completed stretch of six games in nine nights proved daunting, and this week was all about hitting the reset button on a sluggish start.

“I think we needed to work on our game a bit,” said Martin Brodeur, who will start in Montreal. “It’s obvious. Definitely, it was helpful just to come in and not have to think about what we just did. It’s in the past now, and we’ll try to move forward here. Practice time, hopefully that helped to iron out some of the issues.”

So far, the problems have been at both ends of the ice. Entering Wednesday's action, New Jersey had scored the fewest goals in the East (10) and was tied with Ottawa for most goals allowed (21). But that’s what practice is for, and the Devils believe they’ve addressed those concerns this week.

“I think the whole philosophy was getting the puck out when we have to,” Arnott said. “Turnovers are costing us, especially along the bluelines and in our zone. Just chipping the puck out and making the smart play instead of turning it over. Slowly but surely, (the coaches) implemented that into our practices. It was just up to us to figure that out. That’s their main concern right now, just cleaning up our own zone and turnovers. They know the offense will come eventually. We just have to keep the puck out of our own net.”

Zach Parise thinks the time between games has lifted the team's spirits.

If everybody’s firing on all cylinders and we’re feeling good about ourselves, hopefully that will be able to transpire in a game. That’s got to start tomorrow. - Jason Arnott
“I think the attitude's been better, today especially," Parise said. "We’ve just got to relax. Everyone is so tight right now, we can barely make a pass out there. We just need to relax and play. We’re just a little too uptight. Having a slow start can do that to you.”

Even Parise, who scored 45 goals two seasons ago, has felt the frustration on offense.

“It’s tough not to,” he said. “We’ve had a tough time scoring goals. At the same time, we all know it’s going to come. The hard time is right now when it’s not.”

The solution?

“Putting one or two in early to get us feeling good about our game,” Parise said. “I don’t think it’s going to take much.”

Jamie Langenbrunner tried out different skates this week just to change things up, and knows a complete effort is needed.

“Doesn’t matter what we think, it’s what we go out and show that’s the important part,” said the captain. “It’s not even necessarily how we start, it’s how we play the whole game. That’s been our question mark. We’ve had a good start pretty much every game, it’s sustaining it for 60 minutes. That’s going to be the key.”

Brodeur doesn’t believe anyone could be pleased with their performance so far.

“I won one game and I lost four and a half,” he said. “I can’t be happy. I think we’re all in the same boat, I think everybody could play better. I had some good moments, I thought, played some good periods and had a shutout. But right now, we need more of certain guys, and I’m part of it. Not really happy with the way we’ve started. As a team and personally, I don’t think anybody could tell you, ‘Oh yeah, that’s been a good six games.’ Nobody would say that. They shouldn’t, either.”

He and the Devils would like to look back on this Montreal trip as the game that flipped the switch on a Devils surge in the standings.

“We’ve talked about it a little bit, saying it’s a great opportunity for us,” he said. “Prepare yourself as much as you want, but the excitement usually brings that level of play from everybody. You get to Montreal, guys that are not from there, they’re so excited to play there because of what it means to the crowd. Definitely we’re looking forward to playing and hopefully it sparks something.”

Brodeur battling Brian Gionta last season.
Montreal: Home, sweet home
While Brodeur makes his 60th appearance against the Canadiens, it will be the first for defenseman Olivier Magnan, who will skate in his NHL debut. 

“It’s like two dreams come true,” said Magnan, a native of Sherbrooke, Quebec. “I’ve always wanted to play against Montreal at home, so it’s great timing.”

Magnan, 24, was called up from Albany (AHL) on Monday. He expects to have about a dozen friends and family in the stands at the Bell Centre.

“First NHL game, you’re going to be a little nervous,” he said. “But especially in Montreal, so I’m just going to try to keep it simple. A hockey game is a hockey game whether you’re in Montreal, here in Jersey or anywhere else. I’m just going to do the same thing.”

Brodeur, meanwhile, is no stranger to starring in his hometown. He owns a 38-16-5 mark and a career-best 1.78 goals-against average against the Habs.

“It’s always fun,” Brodeur said. “It’s family, it’s coming home, friends. Looking up (in the stands) I probably, by looking up, know more people in Montreal than I do in New Jersey. It’s always fun to come back home. It’s not just because it’s home for me, but I think it’s a great hockey atmosphere that you live in. You walk around, people will recognize the Devils coming in. It’s a fun couple of days when you’re there.”

Captain Gio
This will be New Jersey’s first meeting with the Canadiens since former Devil Brian Gionta was named the 28th captain in team history. He took over for Saku Koivu, who served as Montreal’s captain from 1999-2009.

“I think it’s a great honor for him, well deserved,” Brodeur said. “People embrace somebody that has the work ethic that Gio has, that Koivu has. It’s something that translates a lot.”




1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 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 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 61 26 31 4 157 191 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 62 25 32 5 170 189 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43


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
C. Schneider 23 23 6 .927 2.19
K. Kinkaid 3 4 3 .915 2.59