NEWARK, N.J. – While Martin Brodeur wasn’t willing to say he stole one for the New Jersey Devils against the Columbus Blue Jackets, almost everyone else was.
Brodeur made 16 saves in a one-side third period, stopped 35 overall and made two more saves in the shootout to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 2-1 victory over Columbus on Wednesday night, snapping the Blue Jackets’ first winning streak of the season.
“He was our best player,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said candidly after seeing his team outshot 17-3 in the third period.
Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel said Brodeur was clearly the difference in ending his team’s bid for its first three-game winning streak of the season.
“No disrespect to Pete and his team but we gave up one scoring chance in the third period and had six or seven,” Arniel said. “Some (Marty) saw and some he didn’t see, but he’s been in this league a long time and he made some big stops. You could see his veteran presence.”
llya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise scored on the Devils first two shots in the shootout against Curtis Sanford and the 39-year-old Brodeur made those shots stand up by making a glove save on Rick Nash and a body save on Mark Letestu to ice the win.
Brodeur downplayed the idea of stealing game because it is a team sport.
“I am just happy I was able to be part of the win,” he said.
When asked what he said to his teammates after being somewhat abandoned in the third period, Brodeur laughed.
“Can’t do that all year boys,” Brodeur said with a quick laugh.
Dainius Zubrus, who was honoured before the game for becoming the 267th player to appear in 1,000 NHL games, tallied for New Jersey in the second period.
Tough-guy Jared Boll had tied the game in the third period for Columbus with his first of the season.
“We definitely got away with one tonight,” Devils veteran Patrik Elias said.
Kovalchuk gave the Devils the lead in the shootout, beating Curtis Sanford with a simple wrist shot.
After Brodeur’s snapping glove save on Nash, Parise made a magnificent move and scored on a backhander. Brodeur gave Letestu nothing to shoot at in ending the game.
After facing only three shots in the third period, Sanford had to make three good saves in the overtime, including two on Parise and one on a point shot by rookie Adam Larsson.
Boll, who missed the Blue Jackets first 14 games with a broken thumb, tied it for the Blue Jackets with his first goal of the season, and it really wasn’t a thing of beauty. Vinny Prospal stole a clearing pass by Parise and sent the puck to the left point for a shot by Marc Methot. The blast hit off Boll’s skate as he stood in the crease and went in.
The goal was reviewed and allowed to stand because Boll did not use a kicking motion to put the puck in the net.
About a minute after the goal, Jeff Carter hit the right goalpost for Columbus, which dominated the third period.
Brodeur was outstanding in the period, making a point-blank save on a rebound attempt by Nash and consecutive stops on Prospal and Carter early in the period when the Blue Jackets had a 21-second two-man advantage.
Brodeur didn’t get an assist on Zubrus’ seventh goal of the season, but it would not have happened had not Brodeur made the play of the game with a poke check on Vinny Prospal that broke up a 2-on-none break.
Prospal tried to slide the puck across the crease to Nash but Brodeur used his stick to knock the puck away.
“I knew Nash was there and he wanted the puck,” Brodeur quipped.
About 45 seconds later, the Devils had the lead. Larsson took a shot from the right point and Sanford made the save, but left a big rebound in front that Zubrus muscled into the net.
The Blue Jackets had one other big chance in the period when Derek Dorsett swopped around the defence and cut across the crease. Brodeur rolled onto his back to take away the net and Dorsett seemed to lose control of the puck and failed to get a shot.
NOTES: Devils tough guy Cam Janssentook consecutive roughing penalties late in the second period. … New Jersey recalled Tim Sestito from Albany (AHL) before the game. …Columbus was 0 for 6 on the power play, improving the Devils’ penalty kill at home to a perfect 36 for 36 this season