Final - OT
  for this game

Gionta, Madden lead Devils over Maple Leafs in shootout

Oct 13, 2006 - 2:41 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- John Madden and Brian Gionta made the New Jersey Devils' final home opener at Continental Airlines Arena a memorable one.

Gionta recorded a natural hat trick in the third period and added a shootout tally and Madden netted the deciding goal in the bonus format to lift the Devils to 7-6 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

New Jersey is slated to move into a new arena in Newark in time for the start of next season. In their 24th and final home opener here, the Devils snapped a five-game losing streak against the Maple Leafs, dating to January 10, 2004.

Madden opened the scoring 10:43 into the game and added his second goal at the 3:30 mark of the second period. He snapped a 1-1 tie in the shootout with a wrist shot in the top left corner to secure the victory. The shot was originally thought to have hit the crossbar, but was reversed after a review.

"We felt if we kept putting the puck deep and getting behind them, maybe we could take a few penalties and capitalize on the power play, which happened," Madden said. "We just stuck with it, and we happened to get a nice win out of it."

Gionta, who set a franchise record with 48 goals last season, rallied the Devils with a pair of power-play goals in the third period, closing the gap to 6-5 with 5:41 remaining. Half of Gionta's goals last season came with the man advantage.

Gionta tied the game with 38 seconds remaining in the third session by knocking in a loose puck at the doorstep for his first career hat trick. The 27-year-old also tallied in the second round of the shootout to forge a 1-1 tie.

"You score a goal or two, they start to tighten up a little," Gionta said. "You go out there and throw everything you can at them and hopefully it comes out like it did tonight.

"I knew I didn't have a (professional hat trick). I had a fair amount (in college)."

Making his season debut, Jean-Sebastien Aubin finished with 24 saves and Matt Stajan scored twice and added an assist for the Maple Leafs.

Stajan began the fireworks 73 seconds into the second period, scoring on a wraparound off his own rebound.

After Madden's second goal, Stajan countered 20 seconds later and Kilger 48 seconds after that to give Toronto a 4-2 lead and prompting Devils coach Claude Julien to call a timeout.

New Jersey's Sergei Brylin added a tally 47 seconds later, but Toronto built the lead to 6-3 as Tucker scored his fourth goal of the season on a deflection off Brylin's skate at 8:45.

"There's something about this rink. I am going to miss it when they move to the new rink, that's for sure," Stajan said. "It's hard to believe, because you come in here and face one of the best goalies in the world, and the puck just seems to go in for me."

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