newjerseydevils.com – The Devils hope to carry momentum into the Steel City Saturday, when they begin a four-game road trip against the Penguins in Pittsburgh (MSG Plus 2, WFAN 660 AM).
New Jersey got its season off on the right foot in the season opener Friday, posting a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders at Prudential Center.
Martin Brodeur made 25 saves, including a stop on Kyle Okposo's penalty shot, for his 539th career win, 12 shy of Patrick Roy's all-time mark. He also set a new NHL record for the most consecutive opening night starts with one team (14).
The Devils fell behind 1-0 on Doug Weight's first-period power-play tally, but answered three minutes later on Parise's marker to draw even. Elias scored the game-winner off of a Brian Gionta set-up just 0:29 into the second period to put the Devils ahead for good, 2-1.
Mellon Arena was something of a home away from home in 2007-08 for the Devils, who took three of four there. The Devils won three straight one-goal decisions in Pittsburgh before dropping their final road meeting with the Pens, 7-1, on March 22.
That loss, the worst of the season for New Jersey, came in the midst of the club's stretch of 10 games without a regulation win to finish the regular season. Brodeur allowed four goals and was relieved in the third period by Kevin Weekes.
Parise (4g-6a-10pts) and Elias (2g-5a-7pts) were New Jersey's top scorers against Pittsburgh last season. Brodeur posted a record of 3-4 overall with a 3.40 goals-against average versus the Penguins, while Weekes went 1-0 with a win at Pittsburgh on November 12. The Devils split the overall season series, 4-4.
Tonight's contest will be Pittsburgh's first since returning with a 1-1 split in their Stockholm opening series against the Ottawa Senators.
Tyler Kennedy scored twice, including the overtime winner, in the Pens' 4-3 OT victory over Ottawa on Oct. 4. Dany Heatley's pair of power-play goals led the Senators to a 3-1 win in the series finale on Oct. 5.
The Penguins went 1-for-14 on the power play against the Senators after ranking fifth in the NHL with 77 power play goals and fourth with a 20.4 percent conversion rate last season.
With 11 points in eight games, Evgeni Malkin was Pittsburgh's top threat against New Jersey last season. But the defending Eastern Conference champs will be without the services of defenseman Sergei Gonchar (shoulder), who burned the Devils for 10 points (1g-9a) in 2007-08.
The Devils' road trip continues Monday at the Rangers, then heads Thursday to Atlanta, and Saturday to Washington. New Jersey opens a two-game homestand starting Wednesday, Oct. 22 against Dallas, continuing Friday, Oct. 24 versus Philadelphia.
with wire services