Devils 6, Thrashers 1 (F)
The Devils celebrated a five-goal second period Saturday versus Atlanta.
The Devils coasted to an easy 6-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers at Prudential Center, but the primary concern Saturday regarded the health of Martin Brodeur
Brodeur made his 10th straight of the season, but left with a bruised elbow 6:38 into the second period following a save on Atlanta's Todd White.
The four-time Vezina Trophy winner stopped all five shots he faced to record his 544th career win and move within seven of Patrick Roy's all-time mark of 551. Brodeur was relieved by back-up Kevin Weekes, who made 14 saves in his first appearance of the season.
|Brodeur getting attention from the Devils' training staff before leaving the game.
continued his hot play, potting two goals for his eighth and ninth tallies of the season. The Devils erupted for a season-high six goals and held a 6-0 lead after 40 minutes. Atlanta's Slava Kozlov broke up the shutout in the third.
The Devils (6-2-2) snapped their three-game winless streak with their third home victory of the season. The Thrashers remained winless on the road (0-4-2) and suffered their seventh loss in 11 games.
Parise extended his goal streak to a career-high six games and tied Bobby Holik, Valeri Zelepukin, Kirk Muller and Pat Verbeek for the longest in Devils history. Holik, currently sidelined by a broken pinky, scored seven goals in six games from Dec. 5 to Dec. 18, 1998.
The fourth-year left wing has the NHL's longest active goal streak, and matched the Blues' Keith Tkachuk for the league's longest this season. Parise now has 11 points (7g-4a) in the last six games, and has collected at least one point in nine of 10 contests.
Other Devils kept pace as Brian Gionta's second goal of the season ran his points streak to five games (2g-4a-6pts), and Dainius Zubrus
extended his points streak (2g-3a-5pts) to four games with two assists.
Defenseman Johnny Oduya, who entered the game with one assist in nine games, registered three helpers for a career-high three-point night.
Also getting on the board was Devils rookie Nicklas Bergfors, who scored his first NHL point with a goal in his season debut. Bergfors was called up Tuesday from Lowell (AHL) under emergency conditions.
New Jersey concludes the four-game homestand next week with games Monday against Buffalo and Wednesday against Tampa.
Head coach Brent Sutter said he was uncertain about a timetable for his starting goaltender. The team has already seen Brian Rolston
(ankle) and Holik (pinky) placed on injured reserve, while Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond
(nasal fracture) and Andy Greene
(broken hand) recently joined the list of the Devils' wounded.
"It seems like it keeps adding on, but what are you going to do?" Sutter said of his team's mounting injuries. "It will sort itself out here, hopefully sooner (rather) than later. What are you going to say? It's the old saying, 'It's a part of the game.' Hopefully it will correct itself."
Brodeur has made 51 consecutive regular-season starts for the Devils, including 41 in a row to conclude 2007-08. His previous career high of 49 straight spanned 44 consecutive games to end 1995-96 and five to start the 1996-97 campaign.
The Montreal native has led the league in appearances five different times during his 15-year career, including each of the last two seasons (78 in '06-07, 77 in '07-08).
A three-time Stanley Cup champion, Brodeur needs 22 appearances to reach the 1,000 games-played mark and sits five shutouts behind Terry Sawchuk's league record of 103.
The Devils got their first goal Saturday from Bergfors, who made his second NHL appearance and first in New Jersey. The Devils' first pick in the 2005 Draft, Bergfors debuted in last year's regular-season opener at Tampa.
Skating on a line with Mike Rupp on the left and fellow rookie Petr Vrana
at center, Bergfors outmuscled Mathieu Schneider behind the Atlanta net, and wound up with the puck at the far right hashmarks. His sharp-angle shot found daylight through Atlanta netminder Johan Hedberg
's pads 14:10 into the game.
Zubrus picked up his first assist, while Rupp picked up his first point of the season with the secondary helper. The Devils outshot the Thrashers 12-4 in the first, and 14-6 in the second.
Elias staked the Devils to a two-goal lead with his third of the season early in the second, with Zubrus getting his second assist. Elias' centering feed from the right circle was intended for Gionta waiting at the left post, but deflected into the net off the stick of Schneider to make it 2-0 at 2:34. Mike Mottau's assist on the play was his fourth in three games.
Just 58 seconds later, Parise struck for his first of the night after Oduya and Jamie Langenbrunner
combined to power the puck toward the front of the Atlanta net. Parise jammed the rebound underneath Hedberg for his eighth and a 3-0 lead at 3:32.
Brodeur made his last save of the contest at 6:28 of the middle frame and turned the game over to Weekes, who got plenty of support with three more New Jersey tallies to close out a five-goal second period.
Gionta scored into the open side off an Elias rebound at 9:28, and Jay Pandolfo and Parise netted goals in the final minute of the period.
Pandolfo tapped in his first of the year off a tremendous backhand pass from a rushing Oduya at 19:31. Twenty-two seconds later, Parise converted a cross-slot feed from Travis Zajac
for his team-leading ninth of the season and a 6-0 Devils advantage.
Kozlov converted on a two-on-one with Colby Armstrong at 6:30 of the third.
Parise's previous career high was a five-game goal streak from Feb. 15-23 last season. He had four two-goal games in '07-08... Paul Gardner holds the franchise mark with 11 goals in eight games as a member of the Colorado Rockies from Oct. 19 to Nov. 5, 1979... Sheldon Brookbank made his season debut at defense paired with Mottau, and scored a decisive win over Garnet Exelby in a third-period scrap. Brookbank skated at right wing in his only other appearance this season, Oct. 25 at Philadelphia... Andy Greene
missed his first game since suffering a broken hand against Toronto on Oct. 29. He had surgery Friday and is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks... Matt Halischuk, who recorded his first NHL point with an assist vs. the Leafs was scratched.
|Three star selections