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New coach Claude Julien hasn't messed around with what has made the New Jersey Devils one of the NHL's most successful franchises.
The Devils (7-5-1) look to continue their strong defensive play Tuesday night when they host the defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes (7-6-2).
The Devils' commitment to defense has been the backbone of the team's excellence over the past 13 years, and Julien made it clear when he took over in the offseason that he did not plan to change that approach.
Julien has kept his word so far, and his team ranks in the top half of the Eastern Conference with 2.85 goals allowed per game - and near the bottom of the league with 2.38 scored per contest.
In their six losses, New Jersey has given up 27 goals, allowing at least four in all but two. In their seven wins, they have allowed just 10.
Martin Brodeur, who owns a 2.21 career goals-against average and has twice won the Vezina Trophy, has anchored New Jersey's defense again this season. He has started 12 games and is 7-5-0 with a 2.75 GAA and three shutouts.
Brodeur stopped 33 shots in the Devils' 2-1 victory over Montreal, which Julien coached for parts of three seasons from 2002-06, on Saturday. New Jersey has won three of its last four, with Brodeur recording back-to-back shutouts against Florida and Columbus to start the stretch.
"(Brodeur) made some beauty glove saves," said Montreal's Chris Higgins, who scored the lone goal against Brodeur on Thursday. "They play a very boring game ahead of him. They don't make too many mistakes and try to keep the shots to the outside, and he makes the saves he should make. That's why he's one of the best in the world."
Brodeur stopped 29 shots in a 4-0 win over Carolina on Oct. 6 in the teams' first meeting this season, but he'll have to contend with a Carolina club that's scoring 3.20 goals per game and has found the net 14 times in its last three victories.
The Hurricanes have won three of four and are coming off Saturday's 3-2 victory over Ottawa.
Ray Whitney scored twice and Erik Cole had a goal and two assists for Carolina, which was 2-for-7 on the power play after going 2-for-22 in its last four games.
"We just seemed to be clicking," Cole said. "If you can execute on your power play there's no reason why you shouldn't capitalize."
Rod Brind'Amour assisted on Cole's goal for his 1,000th point.
"It doesn't mean a lot at the moment," Brind'Amour said. "When I got 500 points, I remember thinking 1,000 is way out there, but now that I'm here it doesn't mean a heck of a lot.
"But I think when you're all done it's nice to look back on. It means you've played a long time, but you've also been pretty successful."
The Hurricanes and Devils split their four-game season series last season, but Carolina knocked the Devils out of the second round of the playoffs in five games en route to winning the Stanley Cup.
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