New Jersey
Devils
46-27-9
Pittsburgh
Penguins
22-46-14
OT
39 SOG
26 SOG
1st2nd3rdOTT
NJD
PIT
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Devils-Penguins Preview

Sunday, 04.02.2006 / 3:00 PM

Associated Press

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Devils-Penguins Preview
New Jersey Devils vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

GAME: New Jersey Devils (38-27-9) at Pittsburgh Penguins (19-42-12).

TIME: Sunday, 3 p.m. EST.

Brian Gionta is fast approaching a Devils record.

Gionta looks to move closer to New Jersey's single-season goal-scoring record as the Devils meet the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena.

With five goals in his last seven games, the 5-foot-7 Gionta is eighth in the league with 41 goals. He needs six in the final eight contests to eclipse the 46 tallied by Pat Verbeek in 1986-87.

Gionta has six goals in six games this season against the Penguins. He also has scored six goals versus the Philadelphia Flyers - the most he has scored against any team this season.

A member of the U.S. Olympic team, Gionta failed to score Saturday against Philadelphia, but recorded two assists in the Devils' 4-1 victory over the Flyers.

Martin Brodeur stopped 33 shots for his record ninth straight 35-win season and moved past Hall of Famer Jacques Plante into sole possession of fourth place on the career wins list.

Brodeur has 438 career victories and trails only Terry Sawchuk (447), Ed Belfour (457), and Patrick Roy (551).

"That's a pretty great accomplishment, I'm pretty excited about it," Brodeur said. "Now I've got three more guys in front me. Definitely, it's a goal of mine to try to get as high as I possibly can. Being in New Jersey helps me a great deal."

The Devils start play with 85 points, tying them with the Canadiens for sixth in the Eastern Conference. New Jersey and Montreal each have a two-point lead over eighth-place Tampa Bay.

Brodeur's only loss in four games against the Penguins this season, though, came March 11 when he allowed six goals on just 16 shots faced over 25 minutes during a 6-3 loss.

Sebastien Caron will likely never be confused with Brodeur, but for one game he played like the future Hall of Famer. Caron turned aside 29 shots Friday for his first shutout of the season and fourth of his career in the Penguins' 4-0 win over the Islanders.

Caron also stopped a penalty shot from Sean Bergenheim early in the third period.

"You got the feeling he was sharp out there, right from the start," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said of Caron. "He deserved the shutout."

Caron has faced the Devils once this season, making 26 saves in the Pens' 4-3 overtime win Nov. 1.

Sergei Gonchar scored twice and rookie star Sidney Crosby added a goal and two assists in the win over New York. Crosby has scored all four of his goals this season against the Devils at home.

STANDINGS: Devils - 85 points, 3rd place, 9 PB, Atlantic Division. Penguins - 50 points, 5th place, 44 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Devils - Gionta, 41 goals and 73 points; Scott Gomez, 42 assists; Cam Janssen, 91 PIM. Penguins - Crosby, 33 goals, 50 assists and 83 points; Brooks Orpik, 114 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Devils - Power play: 17.0 percent (68 for 400), 21st in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.8 percent (260 for 318), 18th. Penguins - Power play: 18.4 percent (82 for 445), 10th. Penalty killing: 78.3 percent (375 for 479), 30th.

GOALTENDERS: Devils - Brodeur (35-23-7, 5 SO, 2.61 GAA); Scott Clemmensen (3-4-2, 0, 3.35). Penguins - Marc-Andre Fleury (11-25-5, 1, 3.34); Caron (7-7-4, 1, 3.98).

SEASON SERIES: Devils, 3-2-1.

LAST MEETING: March 16, Devils, 2-1. At East Rutherford, N.J., Gionta and John Madden scored second-period goals to rally the Devils. Jani Rita scored for the Penguins, who got 21 saves from Fleury.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devils - 16-16-6 on the road; Penguins - 10-21-7 at home.

2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 05 '06PIT 4 at NJD 6P. Elias
Apr 02 '06NJD 3 at PIT 2 - OTB. Gionta
Mar 16 '06PIT 1 at NJD 2B. Gionta
Mar 11 '06NJD 3 at PIT 6A. Hilbert
Dec 29 '05NJD 2 at PIT 6T. Surovy
Nov 01 '05PIT 4 at NJD 3 - OTS. Gonchar
Oct 20 '05NJD 6 at PIT 3B. Gionta
Oct 05 '05PIT 1 at NJD 5Z. Parise
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
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