Devils 4, Wild 0
Brodeur gets across to stop Stephane Veilleux for one of his 35 saves.
newjerseydevils.com – Martin Brodeur
already has another prestigious goaltending record in his sights.
One start after establishing a new NHL mark with his 552nd victory, Brodeur came out Friday and made 35 saves to blank the Minnesota Wild, 4-0, at Prudential Center. His fifth shutout in 20 appearances this season was the 101st of his career and moved him within two of Terry Sawchuk's NHL record.
After all buzz this week surrounding his wins record, Brodeur isn't ready to start planning another "Marty Party" just yet.
"We don't know when that one's going to happen," Brodeur said. "It's definitely nice to win, and to have a shutout is even nicer. But it's not something I can look forward to because shutouts are part being good, and part being lucky."
notched his 29th and 30th goals of the season, and Zach Parise
added two assists for the Devils, who extended their franchise-record home winning streak to 11 games. New Jersey tied Vancouver for the longest active home streak, three games shy of Boston's season-best 14 in a row (Oct. 25-Jan. 1).
"It's nice to get back there, no question," Elias said of reaching the 30-goal plateau for the first time since 2003-04, when he collected 38. "I haven't been there in a while."
Brian Gionta scored his 18th to extend his goal streak to three games, and Johnny Oduya hit a new career high with his seventh goal of the year.
New Jersey went 1-for-3 with the man advantage, and a perfect 7-for-7 on the penalty kill, including 50 seconds of a Wild 5-on-3 midway through the third period.
The Devils (47-21-3) bounced back from Wednesday's 4-2 defeat at Carolina and avoided what would have been their first back-to-back losses since Jan. 6 and 8. They have gone 24-7 since then to close to within three points of the East-leading Bruins, whom the Devils face Sunday at Boston.
"Tonight was a good game for us," said Parise, whose 87 points are nine shy of Elias' single-season Devils' record. "That's a patient team; they don't give you a lot. We waited them out, and were able to capitalize on our chances."
Parise ran his points streak to seven games (3g-7a), while Elias extended his points streak to five (4g-4a). As the Devils continue lighting the lamp, Brodeur has excelled on his end. The four-time Vezina Trophy winner is 9-1 with three shutouts since returning from injury on Feb. 26.
Brodeur said his chase of Sawchuk's record is a credit to the Devils' style.
"That one is just proof of commitment of an organization to play well defensively," Brodeur said. "You can't do it by yourself. For the amount that I have, you have to consider that the team I'm playing for is doing the right things. A couple of times today I was down and out, and guys are going down to block shots when it's 4-0. It takes commitment for guys to put themselves face-first in front of the puck, and they've been doing that throughout my career. That's why I've been able to get that [shutout] number as high as it is now."
Following a scoreless first, the Devils killed off four second-period penalties and built a 3-0 lead to chase Wild starter Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom – fourth in wins (31) and tied for third in shutouts (6) – left after allowing three goals on 11 shots. He was relieved by Josh Harding, who stopped 17 of 18.
Elias buried his first of the night 1:24 into the second. Oduya dumped the puck into Wild territory, and Gionta's forecheck pressured Marek Zidlicky behind the Minnesota net. Zidlicky turned the puck over to Elias at the right circle for a shortside snapshot past Backstrom.
"I went through the middle and I saw [Zidlicky] just looking over his shoulder," Elias said. "I made a move to the middle, then backed off to the right side. I guess he assumed I was going to turn the other way."
After the goal, Elias skated past backup Kevin Weekes at the Devils' bench.
"I told him that Czech guys can find each other [on the ice] no matter what," Elias said.
Zidlicky, a Czech native, was beaten again for the Devils' second tally, when Gionta made it 2-0 at 9:59.
Parise slipped around the Wild defenseman along the boards in the neutral zone, and skated in on a 2-on-1 with Gionta against Martin Skoula
. Parise passed cross-slot for Gionta, who put a diving tap-in around Backstrom's left pad.
Brodeur delivered his best stop at 5:23 of the second, stopping Belanger all alone on a breakaway through the slot. Cal Clutterbuck fed the puck to the middle to set up the chance.
"For some reason I didn't see him coming," Brodeur said. "I was mesmerized by [Clutterbuck]. It came in and I looked up and he had the puck and he was right in my face. I didn't really move much. He tried to make me open up, and I don't know if I was too slow or too quick. The puck just hit my pad and stayed there too; I was able to freeze it."
Oduya put the Devils ahead by three with a slapper from the point that bounced end-over-end on Backstrom, before jumping over his glove side at 11:02.
Elias' second of the night was his 12th of the year on the power play.
Paul Martin made a diving play to keep in a Wild clearing attempt at the right point, then put a shot on goal. Elias scored on the rebound at 8:32.
Defenseman Jay Leach was recalled from his conditioning assignment in Lowell (AHL) and was scratched Friday, along with Jay Pandolfo. Colin White
(lower body, day to day) missed his second straight game, with Andy Greene
filling in. ... Devils' prospect David McIntyre has been announced as a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. The junior forward led Colgate in scoring with 21 goals and 22 assists in 37 games. He was acquired from Anaheim for Sheldon Brookbank on Feb. 3. The award will be presented during the NCAA Frozen Four on Friday, April 10 at Washington D.C.'s Verizon Center.
|Three star selections