for this game

Devils hold on for ninth straight win

Dec 8, 2007 - 5:19 AM By Joe Rizzo PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Make it nine straight wins and counting for the New Jersey Devils.

Martin Brodeur stopped 22 shots and Travis Zajac stalled a comeback attempt with a goal 6 1/2 minutes into the third period as the Devils on Friday posted their ninth consecutive victory, a 3-2 triumph over the Washington Capitals.

Defenseman Vitaly Vishnevski and former Capital Dainius Zubrus also scored for the Devils, whose streak matches that of the Detroit Red Wings from October 18-November 9 for the longest in the league this season.

New Jersey is riding its best run since closing out the 2005-06 season with 11 straight victories and goes for No. 10 on Sunday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"It's important," Brodeur said. "They're our big rivals. We're 0-3 against them, and we play them eight times. If we want to have a good record, we have to get it going against them."

"You can't let your foot off the pedal," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "As soon as you do, you allow a certain amount of complacency to enter your game. You're not going to win every game. What's more important is guys doing what they're supposed to do within the structure of the team."

New Jersey completed a sweep of its five-game homestand in its new building, the Prudential Center, on the night when former captain Scott Stevens was honored prior to the opening faceoff for his induction into the Hall of Fame on November 12.

"Anytime Scottie's around, it's exciting," said Jamie Langenbrunner, who was wearing the captain's C for the second game. "Just having him around is great. He left us alone, though."

"We knew we had a good opportunity with five games at home," said Patrik Elias, who was New Jersey's captain last season but lost the title when Sutter put it up for grabs. "I am glad we've done a good job with the home-ice advantage. It's good for the fans and it's good for us."

Brodeur was busiest during a penalty kill four minutes into the second period, surviving a barrage of close-range shots. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner lost his shutout bid with 14:22 left in the third period, when Alexander Semin scored from the right faceoff dot to halve Washington's deficit to 2-1.

But Zajac countered 51 seconds later to restore the two-goal advantage and put the Devils back in control. Olaf Kolzig stopped defenseman Sheldon Brookbank's initial shot but allowed the rebound to get behind him and into the crease, where Zajac was able to deposit it into the net for his fifth tally of the season.

"That was huge," Langenbrunner said. "We did what we wanted to do off the faceoff got it deep and had a good cycle. He's a big goalie and likes to come out."

Brooks Laich made things interesting, scoring with 77 seconds to go in the third, but a hooking penalty by blue-liner Mike Green with a minute remaining ended the Capitals' comeback hopes.

Kolzig finished with 19 saves for Washington, which lost for the fourth time in its last five games and fell to 3-7-1 in its last 11.

"It's no secret - you put traffic in front of a goaltender and it's so much harder," Kolzig said. "You're just focusing on blocking the net. It's tough to control the rebound. You just hope it hits you and you corral it."

The Capitals dropped to 3-3-1 since Bruce Boudreau took over as interim coach.

"The second 10 minutes of the first (period) did us in," Boudreau said. "We can sit there and look for positives all we want, but the bottom line is, we didn't get the job done. In this league, you have to play for 60 minutes at the top of your game, and we played pretty good for 50 minutes."

Defenseman Brian Pothier's bad clearing attempt up the middle of the ice was picked off just inside the blue line by Vishnevski, who skated down the slot and flipped a backhander that went between Kolzig's torso and blocker at 11:42 of the first period to open the scoring.

It was Vishnevski's first goal in 55 games since December 27, 2006.

Just over four minutes later, Pothier's defense partner, former first-round pick Jeff Schultz, tripped Langenbrunner to give New Jersey its first power play. With six seconds left in the penalty, Kolzig no longer was able to withstand a barrage as Zubrus chopped a deflected puck that got behind the netminder into the open net for a 2-0 bulge.

"On my goal, Brian (Gionta) was in front of the net," Zubrus said. "The other goal, Travis got it with guys in front. If you put traffic in front, it makes it hard on anyone. It's not an easy spot to be in, but guys don't shy away."

"Look at the last two goals pucks shot at the net, and (there were) rebounds," Sutter said. "The puck's there. You're not going to always score pretty goals."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 0 0 2 2
    NEW JERSEY 2 0 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - VITALY VISHNEVSKI 1 (UNASSISTED) 11:42
    NJD - (PP) DAINIUS ZUBRUS 6 (BRIAN GIONTA, PATRIK ELIAS)
    15:57
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: WAS - ALEXANDER SEMIN 2 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM) 5:38
    NJD - TRAVIS ZAJAC 5 (SHELDON BROOKB

    Dec 7 9:35 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 2
    NEW JERSEY 3
    3RD PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 5 (VIKTOR KOZLOV, NICKLAS BACKSTROM) 18:43

    Capitals vs. DevilsDec 7 9:34 PM
  • 27
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 17 roots (Close Finish)

    Capitals vs. DevilsDec 7 9:34 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 1
    NEW JERSEY 3
    3RD PRD: NJD - TRAVIS ZAJAC 5 (SHELDON BROOKBANK, JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER)
    6:29

    Capitals vs. DevilsDec 7 9:09 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 1
    NEW JERSEY 2
    3RD PRD: WAS - ALEXANDER SEMIN 2 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM) 5:38

    Capitals vs. DevilsDec 7 9:08 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 0 0 0
    NEW JERSEY 2 0 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - VITALY VISHNEVSKI 1 (UNASSISTED) 11:42
    NJD - (PP) DAINIUS ZUBRUS 6 (BRIAN GIONTA, PATRIK ELIAS)
    15:57
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WAS 5 8

    Dec 7 8:43 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WASHINGTON 0 0
    NEW JERSEY 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NJD - VITALY VISHNEVSKI 1 (UNASSISTED) 11:42
    NJD - (PP) DAINIUS ZUBRUS 6 (BRIAN GIONTA, PATRIK ELIAS)
    15:57
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    WAS 5 5
    NJD

    Dec 7 7:50 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 0
    NEW JERSEY 2
    1ST PRD: NJD - (PP) DAINIUS ZUBRUS 6 (BRIAN GIONTA, PATRIK ELIAS)
    15:57

    Capitals vs. DevilsDec 7 7:47 PM
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    mrman226 Added 5 roots

    Capitals vs. DevilsDec 7 7:40 PM


  • NHL
    WASHINGTON 0
    NEW JERSEY 1
    1ST PRD: NJD - VITALY VISHNEVSKI 1 (UNASSISTED) 11:42

    Capitals vs. DevilsDec 7 7:39 PM
  • 5
    roots
    NJN007 Added 5 roots

    Capitals vs. DevilsDec 7 6:26 PM