Devils 4, Stars 0 FINAL
|Elias picked up his third two-goal game of the season in Tuesday's win.
With the Stanley Cup in the house, the Devils were in championship form Tuesday in Newark.
needed 28 saves to extend his career shutout record to 106 and Patrik Elias
scored twice in the Devils' 4-0 rout of the visiting Dallas Stars.
had a goal and an assist in the second period, when New Jersey struck three times en route to their sixth straight win at home. Zach Parise
notched his team-leading 18th goal of the season, and Jamie Langenbrunner
added a pair of helpers to stretch his points streak to five games (5g-3a).
The Devils honored their 2000 Stanley Cup championship team in a pregame ceremony, and the Cup was brought to the Rock as part of the festivities. Brodeur made the night even more memorable with his fifth shutout of the season, and third in his last seven games.
"He's probably playing at his best right now," said head coach Jacques Lemaire. "You can tell. He's got confidence, he plays with confidence. He's good. He's at his top right now."
Brodeur shrugged off the suggestion that's he's in a zone. He leads the League with 27 wins and tied Ryan Miller and Ilya Bryzgalov for the most shutouts.
"I think the team is playing well," he said. "I think it's a big team effort every time you have shutouts. Sometimes it's like a goal scorer, it comes in streaks. You get one, you get a few, and after that, it takes you a while. We'll take it for now."
After last week's two-game split in Chicago and Minnesota, the Devils rebounded with as strong a performance as they've had this season. New Jersey avenged its 5-3 loss at Dallas on Nov. 21.
"It was a good effort," Brodeur said. "Nice to come home and play a solid one. Both offensively and defensively, we did a great job. You had to bounce back. Even though we knew we didn't play well on that road trip, we got away with winning a game (in Minnesota). It's definitely nice to come back and play solid."
Lemaire's club has bagged an incredible 30 victories through its first 41 games (30-10-1) and just keeps rolling.
"I think you have to put this one with the best that we've played, if not the best," Lemaire said. "You look at the speed we had, the puck control, the plays. We didn't last long in our end. As soon as we got the puck, we were gone in the other zone, and I think the guys were skating really well."
At the start of the season, would he have taken 30 wins at the season's halfway point?
"Right away," he said. "Without playing them."
New Jersey's ninth win in 11 outings maintained their six-point edge over Pittsburgh for first place in the Atlantic. Washington beat Montreal to tie Buffalo for second in the East, five points behind the Devils in the race for the conference top spot.
Jersey's Team is back in action on Friday when it hosts Tampa Bay.
Elias' ninth of the season had the Devils leading 1-0 after 20 minutes. Brian Rolston
outmuscled Jamie Benn to keep the puck in at the Dallas blue line, then looked up to find Elias stationed in front. Rolston sent the puck toward the net, where Elias tipped it between Alex Auld's pads with 1:58 to go in the first period.
"I stayed behind their 'D' for about 10 seconds, it seemed to me," said Elias, who has five points in his last two games (2g-3a). "(Rolston) was battling inside the zone for the puck on the blue line. I was just hoping he was going to get it and I kind of stayed behind. He did a good job to battle for the puck."
The goal snapped a five-game goal drought for Elias, while the assist gave Rolston his first point in the last seven games.
Elias netted his 10th in the second period to up the Devils' lead to two. Just 16 seconds after exiting the box for his cross-check on Steve Ott, Elias raced in on a 2-on-1 with Langenbrunner and snapped his second of the night past Auld from the right circle at 6:59.
Zajac's 10th of the year burned the Stars on the power play to make it 3-0 midway through the second. Zajac's blast from the top of the left circle beat Auld through the five-hole at 9:36, snapping the centerman's 12-game goal drought.
"It was as much relief as you can get after not scoring for (12) games, I guess," Zajac said. "You shoot the puck and things happen. Any time you can help and contribute offensively, it helps your confidence and hopefully I can continue to go from there."
Parise blew open the game with 4:53 to go in the second. He blocked Stephane Robidas' shot from the point, and quickly turned the play up ice for a 3-on-2. Langenbrunner fed Parise for wrister from the left circle that capped the scoring at 15:07.
"We just have to stay focused, keep going and not think that we're good," Lemaire said. "Because (then) we won't be that good."
The Devils honored their 2000 Stanley Cup championship team in a pregame celebration. Returning 2000 squad members Ken Daneyko, Steve Kelly, Claude Lemieux, Ken Sutton; former head coach Larry Robinson; former assistant Slava Fetisov; and goaltending coach Jacques Caron took part in the ceremonial faceoff between Elias and Stars' captain Brendan Morrow at center ice.
• Dallas had 15 shots after two periods, just seven more than Parise, who had five in the first period and finished with nine. Parise, Zajac and Langenbrunner skated together as a line and combined for two goals, three assists on 15 shots.
"They'll stay together as long as it goes well," Lemaire said. "I can't say forever. They're playing really well right now. They're skating, they're moving the puck. They feel like they have confidence. This is why they're together right now."
• Bryce Salvador
was back in the lineup after missing three game with a lower body injury. He made his presence felt in the first period with a rumbling hit on Toby Petersen, and saw 14:24 of total ice time. Matt Corrente was a healthy scratch.
"He was good," Lemaire said. "I think the coaching staff did a good move by talking about it and putting him back in. He played quite a bit. I can tell you he was good."
• Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond
was activated from injured reserve and played in his first game since Nov. 4. David Clarkson
, who will miss the next two to three weeks, was placed on IR, retroactively.
"He played well," Lemaire said of Leblond, who was credited with two hits. "At first, I didn't know if I was going to put him in or Andrew (Peters). He hasn't played in a long time and he's been practicing hard. He's been doing his job, trying to stay positive. I felt it would be a good time to give him a chance, and his performance was good. He banged with a few guys, and with the puck, he did well – better than in practice."
|Three star selections