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newjerseydevils.com – The Devils have enjoyed more than a decade of success around goaltender Martin Brodeur. The Boston Bruins would like Tim Thomas' current successful run to last a little longer.
Brodeur's surging Devils and Thomas' Bruins will both be looking to win their third straight game when they meet in Boston on Saturday.
New Jersey (23-14-3) has long lived off of a defensive system in front of Brodeur, who has led the Devils to three Stanley Cups and 13 consecutive winning seasons. Now, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner has started 10 straight games for New Jersey, going 7-3-0 with a 1.99 goals-against average in that stretch.
He made 36 saves Friday night in a 3-0 victory over Philadelphia for the 96th regular-season shutout of his career.
"It's a number on the way to a bigger number," said Brodeur, who needs seven more shutouts to tie Terry Sawchuk's NHL record of 103. "I shut them out, but we got a win and everybody is happy. I'm happy, too."
The Atlantic Division-leading Devils have won two in a row and five of six, allowing two or fewer goals in each of those five wins.
New Jersey has also defeated the Bruins (20-16-4) three straight times and in eight of the last 10 meetings. The Devils have already beaten the Bruins twice this season, including a 3-1 win at TD Banknorth Garden on Dec. 13.
Brodeur had 19 saves in that game, while Jamie Langenbrunner had two goals for New Jersey and Brian Gionta also scored. Gionta has three goals and two assists in his last four trips to Boston, where he played four seasons at Boston College.
Defenseman Mike Mottau, another BC product, had an assist in the win - his first visit to Boston as an NHL player.
Brodeur has been in net for both Devils victories over Boston this season, improving to 21-14-0 with eight ties and a 2.45 GAA in his career versus the Bruins.
Boston's season appeared to be heading downhill a week ago after a sixth straight defeat. Since then, though, the Bruins won two in a row - both at home - while Thomas has allowed just two total goals.
Thomas had struggled to an 0-2-1 record and 3.49 goals-against average in his first four games since returning from a groin injury, but he had 28 saves in a 5-2 win against Atlanta on Monday, then earned his first shutout of the season with 31 stops Thursday in a 2-0 victory over Washington.
Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara had a goal and an assist against the Capitals while shadowing Washington's Alexander Ovechkin defensively. The Bruins are allowing just 2.58 goals per game this season while first-year coach Claude Julien stresses defensive-minded hockey.
"It is so important for this team to think defense first," Chara said. "We have to take care of our zone ... and go step by step."
with wire services