By Larry Fleisher
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) — For the New Jersey Devils, the
best way they could ignore any potential distraction from Sean
Avery was to watch Martin Brodeur inch closer to history while
getting production from their offense.
Brodeur made 21 saves and John Madden scored twice in a
72-second span in the second period as the Devils cruised to a
5-0 victory over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.
Brodeur turned aside five shots in the first period and eight in
each of the final two sessions en route to his 98th career
shutout – second this season – and 543rd win. The four-time
Vezina Trophy winner now trails Hall of Famers Terry Sawchuk
(103 shutouts) by five and Patrick Roy (551 victories) by eight
for first place on the all-time lists.
“It’s a lot,” Brodeur said of his shutout total. “I’m just
fortunate to play on a team that cares about playing well
Captain Jamie Langenbrunner, Zach Parise and David Clarkson also
tallied for the Devils, who scored a total of 10 goals in their
first five games of the season.
“It’s nice,” Brodeur said. “When you get on the board early, it
makes it a lot easier to play a game. Offensively, we were
great, and defensively, we were great also. It was kind of a
great combination to play a team that you don’t see too often,
and for us, these are big points.”
Travis Zajac and defenseman Andy Greene recorded two assists
apiece for New Jersey, which was playing at home for the first
time since a season-opening win over the New York Islanders on
October 10. The Devils, who have netted nine goals over their
last two games, saw 11 different players notch a point on
“We stayed with our game for 60 minutes,” New Jersey coach Brent
Sutter said. “We made the most of our scoring opportunities.
Marty made a couple of big saves at key times. It was a real
solid win here tonight.”
Marty Turco allowed three goals on 17 shots before being
replaced by Tobias Stephan, who made 10 saves for Dallas.
“It’s embarrassing more than anything,” Turco said. “I’m not
sure what needs to be done. For me, I’ve just got to give these
guys a chance, and I didn’t do that for them.”
The contest marked the return of Avery to New Jersey. The
agitator last was seen here as a member of the New York Rangers,
annoying Brodeur during last season’s Eastern Conference
quarterfinals but did nothing of the sort in this one.
“Marty has accomplished a lot,” Madden said. “I don’t think
that (facing Avery) ranks up there in the top 25, for that
matter. Just getting the shutout and getting one step closer to
history is what I’m thinking about.”
“I thought they did a good job,” Sutter added. “We didn’t want
it to become a distraction.”
For the Stars, their problems go deeper than any of Avery’s
antics on the ice. Avery did not take any costly penalties
despite exchanging some shoves with Brodeur and Clarkson
throughout the game, but none of it sparked Dallas, which
allowed at least five goals for the fourth time this season.
“You need your goaltender to make saves,” Stars coach Dave
Tippett said. “You need your special teams to work. If you
give up five goals on 20 shots, you’re not going to win. You
could be the 1980 Oilers, you’re still not going to win.”
“(We’re) just really looking flat-footed again in some of our
coverage and in some of our ability to absorb the rush and
neutralize that,” Dallas’ Mike Modano added. “It’s been pretty
ineffective in the games we lost. It’s pretty evident, and it’s
bad starts again and bad changes. Things seem to be very much
out of the norm for us.”
The Stars used Avery’s emotional return to New York on Monday to
post a 2-1 victory, getting their second win after Turco allowed
a power-play goal just 58 seconds into the contest. The veteran
goaltender once again allowed an early goal in this one but was
not as sharp afterward.
A former Star, Langenbrunner struck just 1:59 into the contest.
Dallas defenseman Trevor Daley was unable to clear the puck from
behind the net, and it was pried loose by Parise along the
Parise left it for Langenbrunner, who skated into the right
faceoff circle and fired a backhander that went off Modano’s
skate and past Turco.
Brodeur did not face a shot until defenseman Stephane Robidas
unleashed a slapper at 8:53 of the first. One his best saves of
the night was a pad stop on Avery from point-blank range during
a power play early in the third, which came after he dropped
down and denied Mike Ribeiro’s breakaway attempt with his pad
with 14:57 remaining.
“(Ribeiro) made a great move,” Brodeur said. “I got real lucky.
He opened me up. I stayed with him as long as I could. I went
down and I opened my five-hole. My stick was dragging a little
bit. When he slid it back, he didn’t slide it enough and it
just kind of hit the top of my pad.”
Prior to those saves, the Devils took advantage of miscues by
Turco and his teammates in the second period.
Defenseman Paul Martin gained possession in the neutral zone and
fed Madden, who sneaked between blue-liners Daley and Matt
Niskanen before beating Turco with a wrist shot from the left
circle at 9:05.
Madden made it 3-0 shortly thereafter thanks to a turnover by
The Stars’ captain coughed up the puck to defenseman Bryce
Salvador, who fired a wrist shot from just outside the blue line
that Turco stopped. But the rebound bounced out to the bottom
of the left circle, where Madden grabbed and buried it to
complete his first two-goal effort since January 20 against
New Jersey increased its lead in the third as Parise scored on a
backhander at 9:49 and Clarkson fired a slapper from above the
slot just inside the left goalpost 53 seconds later.
“It felt good to get a goal,” Clarkson said. “As a team, it was
a big boost, and everybody played well.”