Devils' glass half full through 41 games
Through 41 games – half of the NHL’s 82-game marathon – coach Peter DeBoer has the Devils in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. If the regular season had ended Sunday, the Devils would be prepping right now for a first-round matchup with Florida, a team they've beaten twice in three meetings.
There's still 41 games to go, however, and much work to be done. The Devils are riding back-to-back wins into a three-game swing through western Canada that starts Tuesday in Calgary:
• With 48 points (23-16-2), the Devils are third in the Atlantic Division, four points behind Philadelphia, and eight behind the NHL-leading Rangers. Five installments remain in the Battle of the Hudson: Jan. 31 and March 6 at Prudential Center; Feb. 7 & 27 and March 19 at MSG.
• The Devils are 11-7-1 at home, 12-9-1 on the road.
• Patrik Elias leads the team with 38 points (14g, 24a). This year has already seen him establish a new club mark for goals (349) and power-play goals (96). On Friday he became just the third player to make 1,000 appearances with the Devils.
• Led by captain Zach Parise and Adam Henrique, the Devils have scored a League-best nine shorthanded goals. Parise and Henrique are tied for the NHL lead with six shorthanded points; tied for second overall with three shorthanded goals; and tied with Minnesota’s Mikko Koivu for a League-high three shorthanded assists.
• Henrique has emerged as a Calder Trophy candidate for rookie of the year. With 32 points in 38 games, he trails Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins by just three points, and ranks second in both goals (12) and assists (20) by a rookie. Nugent-Hopkins has missed three games with an upper body injury that’s expected to sideline him for up to four weeks.
Henrique, 21, had a rookie season-high seven-game points streak (2g-7a-9pts) from Nov. 25 to Dec. 8, and was named NHL Rookie of the Month for December. He became the first Devils forward to earn the honor since Scott Gomez (Nov. 99), who went on to capture the Calder.
• The Devils' penalty kill matched a franchise record by not allowing a power-play goal for the first 10-plus home games of the season. Entering Monday’s action, the Devils have the best overall PK (13 goals in 147 chances, 91.2%), as well as the best home PK (5 goals in 70 chances, 92.9%).
• Adam Larsson tied a team rookie defenseman record by collecting points in five straight games from Nov. 19-26. Larsson, the fourth overall pick last year, leads Devils defensemen in points (13), assists (11) and average ice time (21:42). He turned 19 on Nov. 12.
• Travis Zajac’s offseason surgery sidelined him for the first 30 games of the season, making David Clarkson the club’s new ironman (143 games). Clarkson’s 15 goals is just two shy of his previous single-season high, putting him on pace for 30 this year.
• Goaltender Martin Brodeur has three assists this season, bringing his career total to 39. He now has eight career power-play helpers, two shorthanded and 28 at even strength.
• Dainius Zubrus appeared in his 1,000th NHL game (Nov. 16 at Buffalo), scored his 200th career goal (Jan. 2 at Ottawa) and reached the 500-point mark (Nov. 8 vs. Carolina).
• Anton Volchenkov made his 500th NHL appearance (Nov. 12 at Washington).
• The Devils are 8-1 in shootouts, 2-1 in overtime.