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Stephen Gionta excited to face brother

Thursday, 12.2.2010 / 1:21 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Stephen Gionta excited to face brother
Stephen Gionta
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Stephen Gionta made his NHL debut just under a month ago. Tonight marks another first for the 27-year-old, who will be in the lineup against older brother Brian and the Montreal Canadiens.

Though they shared three seasons together with the Devils organization, this will be the first time they’ve ever played in the same organized game at any level.

“A chance to be able to play against Brian will be an exciting thing, something we’ll be able to share together,” Gionta said this morning.

Four years apart (Brian is 31), both spent four seasons at Boston College. Brian was drafted by the Devils in the third round of the 1998 Draft, hoisted the 2003 Stanley Cup and set a franchise record with 48 goals in 2005-06. He signed with Montreal in 2009 and earned the Canadiens' captaincy this season.

Stephen was never drafted and signed with Albany (AHL) in 2006. He has spent four-plus seasons with the Devils’ top minor-league affiliate where he has also worn the “C.” He played his first NHL game on Nov. 5 against the Rangers.

They never suited up together as Devils, but this is pretty special, too.

“When I was here, I hoped that I’d get into a game with him,” Gionta said. “Now that he’s moved on, the next best thing is playing against him. Hopefully, it’ll be a good one tonight.”

The younger Gionta doesn’t have his older brother’s offensive talents, but plays the smart defensive game that’s so important for his fourth-line role.

“Stephen’s played well,” said head coach John MacLean. “He’s been doing a lot for us, he does his job, he kills penalties for us.”

Gionta, who wears the familiar No. 14 jersey, assured reporters that he won’t be running around the ice looking to throw a big hit on Montreal’s No. 21. Their parents and a cousin have tickets to the game.

“I’m not going to change anything just because he’s out there,” he said. “We’re still looking for the two points, and I think that’s the most important thing tonight.”

Jamie Langenbrunner will return to the lineup after missing eight games (neck), meaning a lineup change had to happen. As it turns out, Alexander Vasyunov will sit. But MacLean had Gionta in suspense until this morning.

“It should be a lot of fun tonight,” Gionta said.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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