Brian Gionta's clutch scoring has helped the New Jersey Devils get off to a fast start.
Gionta looks to continue his offensive surge when the Devils face the New York Rangers, the team he has posted his highest goal total against, at Madison Square Garden on Monday.
Gionta broke a tie with 3:33 remaining to lift New Jersey (3-1-0) to a 3-2 victory over Philadelphia on Saturday.
That came one game after Gionta recorded his first career hat trick, scoring all three of the Devils' goals in the third period to erase a three-goal deficit as New Jersey defeated Toronto 7-6 in a shootout Thursday.
"This guy really gets his nose dirty in the front of the net," New Jersey coach Claude Julien said. "He's so good at picking up pucks with his stick. They have been timely goals, important goals."
Gionta has put the Devils on track to win three straight games, something they didn't do last season until Nov. 23-29.
Gionta, who had a team-high 48 goals last season, has 10 goals in 19 games against the Rangers (2-3-0), his best total against any opponent. Last season, he had seven goals and an assist in eight games against New York, and he has five goals in his last five games at MSG.
After surrendering five second-period goals against the Maple Leafs, Martin Brodeur made 25 saves against the Flyers. He has started all four games for New Jersey this season and has a 2.70 goals-against average.
The veteran was solid last season against the Rangers, going 4-2 with a 1.99 GAA, but lost two of the three games he started at New York. Brodeur is 33-13 with 15 ties and a 2.10 GAA against the Rangers.
The Devils were 4-3-1 against New York last season, but dropped three of the four games at MSG.
While New Jersey is looking to push its win streak to three, New York lost its third straight Saturday, 7-4 to Buffalo.
The Rangers have allowed 13 goals in their last two games, and Saturday's defeat marked the first time since March 7, 2004 they given up seven goals in a game.
New York outshot the Sabres 11-1 in the first 15 minutes and built a 2-0 lead, but the momentum turned dramatically after that. The Rangers were outshot 28-5 during a 25-minute stretch bridging the first and second periods and were outscored 7-1 in that span.
"The way we started the game we were in their face," said left wing Brendan Shanahan, who had two goals. "They scored a couple of goals and got the crowd behind them. We were back on our heels and not a very confident group."
New York has given up 17 goals during its slide.
Shanahan has a point in all five games this season, with six goals and two assists. Linemate Jaromir Jagr has also recorded a point in each game, scoring two goals to go with eight assists.
Kevin Weekes had a rough season debut in goal for the Rangers on Saturday, giving up all seven goals on 32 shots. Top goalie Henrik Lundqvist is likely to return to the net Monday for New York, as he went 2-0-1 with a 1.64 GAA in three games against them last season.
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