Devils 4, Hurricanes 2 FINAL
|Brodeur got his League-leading 19th win, but will have to wait for career shutout 104.
will have to wait a little longer for the shutout record.
Brodeur, who tied Terry Sawchuk's all-time mark of 103 on Monday, came up short in his first bid to break the record in the Devils' 4-2 win over Carolina on Wednesday.
History was put on hold, but Brodeur's 21 saves were enough to lead the Devils to their fourth straight win.
scored twice, including once on the power play, and Patrik Elias
added his 299th career goal in the Devils' second straight victory over the team that eliminated them from last year's playoffs. Rob Niedermayer buried a shorthanded empty-netter with 0.9 seconds left in regulation to seal it.
Cam Ward made 27 saves for Carolina, which fell to 1-11-3 on the road.
Brodeur carried a shutout 6:48 into the second period when Brandon Sutter, son of ex-Devils coach Brent, snapped a shot from the left circle that redirected off the leg of Devils defenseman Mark Fraser
and into the net.
"I lost it completely," Brodeur said. "I saw it when it was behind me. It was weird. I kind of lost it and didn't know where it was."
Brodeur, who set the NHL's wins record in March, wasn't thinking shutout on Wednesday.
"Not really," he said. "I wasn't really thinking about that. Like I said, I've tied it now and I'm not looking for (the record). It's going to happen when it's going to happen."
The Devils struck twice in the first period and once in the second to take a 3-0 lead. Carolina rebounded with two goals in a 1:58 span of the middle frame to make it 3-2 heading into the third.
For the third straight time going back to Game 7 of last year's Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Devils were in the position of having to protect a one-goal lead against the pesky Hurricanes. Back on Oct. 17, New Jersey clung to a 1-0 lead in the final minute of play before securing a 2-0 win.
"Doesn't matter who you play against, it's how well you play through 60 minutes that's going to dictate the way the game's going to be," Brodeur said. "We definitely made it harder than it should've been, but I thought we showed a lot of character when they scored that second goal to really shut them down. After that they didn't get that many chances to score."
With the win, the Devils opened up a two-point lead over Pittsburgh for first place in the Atlantic Division. They have won seven of their last eight and lead the League with 21 victories. Since opening the season 0-3 at home, Jersey's Team has gone 10-2 in Newark.
Greene's steady play has been one of the reasons why. He has stepped in and provided the Devils with the offense they have needed in the absence of top blueliner Paul Martin (arm), who's been out since Oct. 24.
Greene's two-goal game was the first of his career, and he leads all Devils defensemen with 17 points (5g-12a). Colin White
and Bryce Salvador
are next on the list with six.
"I'm just trying to go out there and play," Greene said. "I'm not trying to change the type of player I ever was. I'm trying to go out there and do the things that I know I can do to help the team in any way I can."
Meanwhile, his stock continues to rise.
"I always feel that he's going to slow down at a time, but he never does," said head coach Jacques Lemaire. "He plays well every night and does the same thing, doesn't matter which team we play against. He's good, makes his early pass when he has to, controls it when he has to. I never thought he could play this well."
Lemaire was asked how close Greene is to being an All-Star.
"Right now, I would say he is, with the way he's playing," said Lemaire.
The Devils got a scare with seven minutes left in the first period, when Salvador left the game after being rammed from behind by Erik Cole. Salvador crashed awkwardly into the corner boards and headed to the dressing room after the hit. Cole was assessed a minor for boarding.
Salvador returned just before the midway point of the second period after a check-up by team doctors.
"I was a little stunned and a little sore," Salvador said. "It was one of those things where I needed to calm down a bit and let everything kind of relax. In those situations, you don't want to be moving too quick or anything. You want to make sure everything checks out before you do anything."
He was surprised Cole only got two minutes.
"The ref came and talked to me at the end of the game and just said he kind of thought that maybe I caught a rut," Salvador said. "He said I didn't look too seriously bad, too. It's one of those situations – what do you do?"
Lemaire didn't think Salvador would be back.
"I thought he was done for the game," he said. "But like they say, hockey players are tough."
For the third straight game, the Devils took a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Elias snapped a four-game goal drought with his fourth of the season to open the scoring in the first period. Niclas Bergfors gained the Carolina blueline and dished to Elias on the right side. Elias' return feed for Bergfors redirected off the skate of Aaron Ward and between Cam Ward's pads at 11:11.
Greene's fourth of the season made it 2-0 late in the frame. Jay Pandolfo tossed the puck from behind the net to Greene at the point. He stickhandled into the slot and wired his first goal in 12 games over Ward's stick side at 17:53.
"I had the best seat in the house to see it," Brodeur said. "That was like an All-Star Game target shootout. He just hit that; it was pretty nice. Every game he's contributing, not just offensively, but he's playing really well in his own zone. He's playing with a lot of poise, a lot of confidence, and it's definitely nice."
, who had two helpers to extend his assists streak to three games (4a), set up Greene's second of the night in the second period. Greene rushed the puck out of his own end on the power play and gained the Carolina blueline before finding Parise on the right side. Parise put a shot on goal, and Greene went to the net to put in his fifth at 6:05.
Less than two minutes after Sutter's seventh had broken up the shutout, Tuomo Ruutu used the man advantage to get Carolina within one. Ruutu's wrist shot from the left circle beat Brodeur, glove side, at 8:46 of the second.
In the third, Salvador was whistled for cross-checking with 12.9 seconds left. Carolina pulled Ward for a 6-on-4 advantage, and Niedermayer beat Jussi Jokinen on the defensive zone draw before scoring his fourth of the season into the empty net.
picked up an assist on Greene's first goal to extend his points streak to six games (2g-5a-7pts). … Mike Mottau was back in the lineup after missing Monday's game (ill). The game was still scoreless when his long-range shot caught the right post at 5:32 of the first period.
• The line of Brian Rolston
- Elias - Vladimir Zharkov
pinned the Hurricanes in their zone late in regulation. It led to Aaron Ward's holding minor on Zharkov and gave the Devils some momentum with five minutes to go.
"We were saying the whole time, just try to get some offense going," Elias said. "For the whole second period and the first 10 minutes of the third, we played most of the time in our zone. We were tired today, maybe, and didn't have the legs. You can see the whole team not moving quick enough with the puck or the puck doesn't move quick enough. They backchecked pretty good so they were right on you to cause turnovers. But we worked really hard, especially on that shift, you could see another shift that we had a good one there. Obviously, because we had the power play, we had a couple of good opportunities off of that and kind of took the momentum for the last five minutes. Those shifts, maybe you don't score, but those are big."
Six games into his NHL career, Zharkov has fit right in with the two vets.
"I like him," Elias said. "He makes plays, he's poised. He's getting more and more opportunities. It'll come for him. He had three great shots today. He's a good player."
Zharkov, 21, seems almost ahead of schedule.
"Some guys play better in the better league than in the lower league; the minors," Elias said. "Some types of players thrive on that and fit in better. He works hard every shift, he's responsible. He's good."
• Hard to believe now, but the Devils were once 0-3 and 1-4 at home. They have taken 10 of their last 12 at the Rock.
"As reporters, as coaches, as players, you take an 82-game season and you shrink it down to little streaks," Brodeur said. "But when you look at the grand scheme of things, it's a lot different – you don't see these bumps as much. We had a hard time in the first three games, but we got over it, now we're doing well and we have to try to keep that up."
|Three star selections