Vitaly Vishnevski (l.) and Travis Zajac scored for the Devils, who extended their winning streak to nine games with Friday's win over Washington.
newjerseydevils.com (Dec. 7) – The Devils honored a legendary part of their past before capping the evening with a historic victory.
On Scott Stevens Hall of Fame Night at Prudential Center, the Devils jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and held on for a 3-2 triumph over the Washington Capitals on Friday night.
Stevens was recognized in a pre-game ceremony for his Nov. 12 induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and he had to have been pleased by what he saw from the club he helped lead to three Stanley Cup titles.
Vitaly Vishnevski and Dainius Zubrus each netted a goal, and Travis Zajac added a third-period tally as New Jersey won its ninth straight to tie the third-longest winning streak in club history (Jan. 3-21, 2006).
After sweeping their four-game road trip in late November, the Devils took all five games of the homestand to improve to 8-4-0 in Newark.
"We found a way to win," head coach Brent Sutter said. " We played a team here that hadn't played in six days. Give our guys credit for fighting through and finding a way to win."
Martin Brodeur (14-10-1) made his 11th straight start and posted 22 saves for his ninth consecutive victory, passing Chris Terreri for the third-longest winning streak in franchise history.
Brodeur owns the club record with 12 straight wins from Oct. 23 to Nov. 20, 1997, and twice has won 11 in a row.
The reigning Vezina Trophy winner carried a shutout five minutes into the third period before Alexander Semin put Washington on the board with a one-timer from the bottom of the right circle.
New Jersey responded 41 seconds later on Zajac's fourth of the season. The second-year forward out of the University of North Dakota tapped in a Sheldon Brookbank rebound to restore the Devils' two-goal lead at 3-1.
Brookbank has three assists in two games since he was scratched from the lineup in consecutive games on Nov. 30 and Dec. 2. Jamie Langenbrunner notched the other assist for his first point since being named team captain on Wednesday.
The Devils (16-10-2), who entered Friday's action in a three-way tie for first place in the Atlantic Division, moved into sole possession of the division top spot after losses by the Rangers and Flyers.
New Jersey drew first blood on Vishevski's first of the season, 11:42 into the contest. The bruising blueliner intercepted a Brian Pothier clearing attempt in the high slot and walked in on Olie Kolzig, beating him on the backhand. Zubrus netted his sixth of the season by batting in a Patrik Elias rebound on the power play to stake New Jersey to a two-goal advantage at 15:57 of the first period.
The Devils were 1-for-5 on the man advantage and collected their eighth power-play goal of the streak (8-for-39, 20.5%).
New Jersey's penalty kill finished 5-for-5 against Washington's 12th-ranked road power play, and has allowed just three goals in its opponents' last 35 chances with the man advantage (91.4%).
The club heads out on the road for three games beginning this Sunday against the Rangers at 5 p.m. The trip continues on Monday, Dec. 10 in Washington and concludes with a matchup against Boston on Thursday, Dec. 13.
The Devils' next home game is set for Saturday, Dec. 15 when the Phoenix Coyotes visit Prudential Center for a 1 p.m. tilt. All fans 13 & under will take home a Devils youth jersey, courtesy of Modell's Sporting Goods.
The Devils' franchise record for consecutive wins is 13 (Feb. 26-March 23, 2001)... New Jersey improved to 11-2-1 when scoring first, and remained undefeated (11-0-0) when leading after two periods... Brodeur now has more career wins against the Capitals (31) than any other Southeast team... With his assist on Zubrus' PPG, Elias has power-play assists in back-to-back games...
Scott Stevens had his family in attendance, and was presented with a Samantha Wendell painting from Devils Chairman Jeff Vanderbeek and Vice-Chairman of Devils Renaissance Development Michael Gilfillan... Jay Pandolfo missed his fourth straight game with a groin injury... Mike Rupp and Johnny Oduya were scratches.
Backhand shot -
1 - 0 NJD
Wrist shot -
2 - 0 NJD