Devils 3, Maple Leafs 2 (F)
Madden celebrates his first of two on the night after missing two games with an ankle injury.
newjerseydevils.com (Jan. 20) –
With John Madden back in the lineup, the Devils pulled back into first place.
Madden scored two goals in his return from injury and Martin Brodeur
made two game-saving stops in the final seconds of regulation to preserve a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Prudential Center on Sunday night.
New Jersey (27-17-3) snapped a two-game losing streak in the final match of the three-game homestand, and moved back into a first-place tie atop the Atlantic Division.
extended his goal-scoring streak to three games in a contest that saw the Devils jump out to a 3-0 lead and hold on to hand the Maple Leafs' their first loss in four games.
, who carried a shutout four minutes into the third period, finished the night with 34 saves to improve to .500 all-time against Toronto (14-14-8).
The reigning Vezina Trophy winner posted his 25th win to tie Evgeni Nabokov for the league lead, and has held opponents to two goals or less in eight straight starts.
Brodeur shut the door on a furious Maple Leafs' rally in the last moments of a third period that was dominated by the visitors.
|Zajac was red-hot with three straight goals on the homestand.
After the Devils took a 27-23 shots advantage through the first two periods, Toronto stormed back with 13 shots in the final frame to New Jersey's five.
Brodeur stopped an Alex Steen one-timer from the right faceoff dot with 11.3 seconds remaining, and denied Steen on the doorstep just before the buzzer.
It was Zajac and Madden scoring 2:19 apart in the final three minutes of the second period that gave New Jersey a 2-0 lead heading into the intermission.
Zajac's 11th put the Devils ahead at 11:28.
Andrew Raycroft gave up a rebound on Karel Rachunek's wrist shot from the blueline. Zajac controlled at the bottom of the left circle and took a step toward the middle before beating Raycroft to his glove side for his sixth goal in his last eight games.
Madden netted his 13th of the season with 13 seconds left, after Zach Parise
cleared the Devils' zone by chipping the puck past Hal Gill at the right point.
Madden carried down the left side on a 2-on-1 with Brian Gionta, and his centering feed redirected off of a sliding Ian White and through Raycroft's pads at 19:47.
Madden's second of the game made it 3-0 just 3:54 into the third, when Paul Martin's point shot bounced off of his leg and past Raycroft.
The former Selke Trophy winner, who missed two games with an ankle laceration suffered Jan. 12 in Buffalo, now has 14 goals and trails Parise by two for the team lead.
Darcy Tucker answered back with his sixth of the season one minute later, when Jiri Tlusty's centering feed deflected off of Tucker's skate and into the net.
The Leafs would close to within one when Pavel Kubina was allowed to creep in from the right point and carry the puck around the net for a wraparound wrister. Kubina went unchecked as he fired his own rebound past Brodeur for his fourth of the year.
Anton Stralman's tripping penalty at 15:11 of the third gave the Devils one last chance for an insurance marker, but the power play stumbled to an 0-for-3 evening.
Zajac and Madden combined for all five goals that the Devils registered in the three games at The Rock, and the team failed to produce a power-play goal (0-for-13).
The Devils hope to change that when they head to Philadelphia for a Tuesday meeting with the Flyers. The club returns to the Garden State to play 13 of 17 on home ice beginning on Jan. 24 versus Montreal.
and Andy Greene
were scratched... Cam Janssen
(shoulder) and Jay Pandolfo
(groin) remained sidelined.
New Jersey's PK was a highlight of the homestand in giving up just one goal in nine opportunities... The Devils put 14 shots on Raycroft in the first 10 minutes of the game before getting outshot 7-2 over the second half of the first period. It was deja vu in the second, as the Devils opened with a 8-3 shot advantage by the midpoint of the period, but were outshot 10-3 in the bottom half of the frame.
|Three star selections