The Devils celebrate Jamie Langenbrunner's 20th of the season in the first period of Sunday's win.
newjerseydevils.com – The Devils couldn't have hoped for a better homestand with Martin Brodeur back between the pipes.
Led by Brodeur's 27 saves, New Jersey received goals from Jamie Langenbrunner, Brian Gionta and Johnny Oduya to shut out the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-0, Sunday at Prudential Center.
Brodeur's second shutout in three games was the 100th of his career, moving him within three of Terry Sawchuk's NHL record (103). He has allowed two goals in three games since returning Thursday from elbow surgery.
"It's a big number," Brodeur said. "It's hard to believe a little bit. You go out and you play and you get shutouts and there's only one other guy that got to that 100 plateau. It kind of hit me maybe later on when guys came over and congratulated me and I figured out that it was the 100th one that they were talking about."
Brodeur missed 50 games, but has not disappointed since rejoining the team he has backstopped to three Stanley Cup championships. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner improved to 9-2-2 with his fourth shutout and fourth straight victory, overall.
With 547 career victories, Brodeur needs four to match Patrick Roy's all-time mark of 551.
"Three wins, we'll take three wins," Langenbrunner said. "We played well on Thursday in his return, and limited the chances against a little bit. He made some big saves when we needed them and we scored some goals for him, too, and let him get back into the game. He looks sharp and ready to go. Playing three in four nights, there isn't any reason to think he isn't ready to go the rest of the way."
The Devils scored in the first five minutes of each period Sunday to take a 3-0 lead by the third, and it would end that way for their third consecutive victory against their division rivals.
Sunday represented Brodeur's first win in three tries against the Flyers this season. He has 43 career victories versus Philadelphia, his highest total against any opponent.
Martin Biron made 39 saves for Philadelphia, which was outshot 42-27. With 19 games remaining, New Jersey holds a nine-point lead over the second-place Flyers.
"It was an important game for our hockey club," Brodeur said. "We played a team that could have made a difference – they have two games in hand. You either let them get back close to you, or you give yourself breathing room, a little bit. It was a big challenge for me to come in [Sunday]. Playing the first two games [against Colorado and Florida] was a little different than a Flyers team that you have a rivalry against."
The Devils (41-19-3) swept the three-game homestand and extended their winning streak on home ice to seven in a row. Jersey's Team outscored opponents 14-2, while outshooting them 120-68.
Head coach Brent Sutter's squad is 22-10-1 in Newark this season and has registered 40-or-more shots in four of its last five games. They visit Toronto on Tuesday.
"We're at a level where we're playing good on both sides of the puck and getting good goaltending," Sutter said. "When the opportunities have been there, when there was a breakdown, Marty was there. He made some big saves."
Brodeur said his toughest stop of the afternoon came on Simon Gagne's set-up for Mike Richards on the doorstep at 11:37 of the first. Gagne avoided the check of Colin White and slid a pass across the slot to Richards.
"I know Simon couldn't make a backhand shot, Whitey pressured him a lot," Brodeur said. "I looked and saw [Richards] wide open, went across and he shot it right into me."
Three days of practice last week have gone a long way toward correcting whatever ailed the Devils on their 1-2-0 trip to Florida, Tampa Bay and Long Island, when they produced two regulation goals and allowed 10.
Zach Parise, who had an assist Sunday for his seventh point (3g-4a) of the homestand, pointed out that Devils made some adjustments heading into the stretch of three games in four days.
"We're just playing smarter," Parise said. "Seemed like we were making things pretty tough for ourselves, we turned the puck over a lot down there. We're just playing smarter and outworking the other team. A couple of times we got outworked, and it's tough to win that way."
To Brodeur, much of what was worked on in those practices has already paid off in game situations.
"It's hard to say something different about the work ethic we have, the offensive, the defensive game, special teams," Brodeur said. "We had a great weekend. We had three big days of practice and worked on a lot of different things, and it showed on the ice. In the regular season, it's hard to have that quality time. It shows when you do take your time and work on stuff, you're able to translate it into games."
Parise got the scoring underway by setting up Langenbrunner's 20th in the first period. It was the 200th goal of the captain's career and Parise saw it coming.
"I had a dream last night that I was picking the puck out of the net for his 200th, and sure enough, he scored on his first shot," Parise said. "It was kinda scary, kinda weird. I told him that right before the game."
Parise, the Devils' leading scorer, raced into the right corner and found Langenbrunner with a backdoor pass at the left circle at 3:51.
Langenbrunner one-timed it by Biron to reach the 20-goal plateau for the fourth time in his NHL career. He last had 20-or-more in 2006-07, when he scored 23. He became the third Devil to do so this season, joining Parise (38) and Patrik Elias (24).
Paul Martin's block on Mike Knuble helped keep Philadelphia off the board in the first. Brodeur stopped Braydon Coburn's shot from the point, and Knuble jumped on the rebound. Knuble had the left side of the net open as Brodeur scrambled across, but Martin got in front of Knuble's backhander at 8:57.
Parise has been all but impossible to keep off the scoresheet lately, and nearly scored his 39th with 6:04 left and the Devils on a power play. He curled off the right boards and fired from the right circle, catching the left post behind Biron.
Gionta's 14th came 37 seconds into the second period and put the Devils ahead by a pair. Oduya fired from the blueline, and Gionta got a stick on it from the slot to redirect his 300th NHL point through Biron.
Oduya, who had two points and was named the game's Second Star, rounded out the scoring at 4:48 of the third period with his fifth of the season. Brodeur's puck-handling abilities helped get the play started.
Brodeur made a glove save on Scott Hartnell and batted the puck toward the boards, where Brendan Shanahan collected for a pass to David Clarkson in the neutral zone.
Clarkson fed Oduya up the middle of the ice, and the defenseman went one-on-one with Coburn before snapping a 15-game goal drought with a wrister from the slot.
"It's a big win, obviously," Oduya said. "We knew it was going to be a tough game, so it's nice to come out on top. Everybody felt pretty good both yesterday and today. We were able to shut them down today, which is great."
NJD NOTES Courtesy of Washington's 6-2 loss to Florida on Sunday, the Devils and Capitals are tied for second place in the Eastern Conference with 85 points each... Mike Rupp and Jay Leach were scratched Sunday.