Devils extend home winning streak, trounce Coyotes

NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) — During his 15-year career, Martin
Brodeur has played for Stanley Cups, Olympic gold medals and
world championships.

A relatively easy 26-save performance on Thursday night in the
New Jersey Devils’ 5-2 win over the hapless Phoenix Coyotes has
put Brodeur in position to return home to Montreal and play for
something just as important – Patrick Roy’s NHL mark for career
wins by a goaltender.

“Now, there’s something to really get excited about, with the
possibility of tying it on Saturday,” Brodeur said after the
Devils set a franchise record with their ninth straight home
win. “I’m happy we won and I’ll be very happy to tie it in

“It just adds to the story. You can’t ask for a better script.
Everything happens for a reason. I just want to be able to put
this all behind me. It feels good to be back playing and to get
a chance like this.”

Brodeur admitted the hardest thing to do this weekend will be to
keep his emotions in check. He has already taken some of the
distractions out of the mix, telling friends and neighbors not
to bother him for tickets in Montreal, where Roy starred for a
large chunk of his career.

“It’s definitely going to be a different atmosphere,” he said.
“I’ll try to maintain my emotions and try not to be distracted
by it all.”

The 36-year-old, four-time Vezina Trophy winner insists the
experience is going to be fun, adding he was going to play hard
on Saturday no matter how many wins he had.

“This is going to be a bit of pressure and stuff,” Brodeur said.
“It should be fun. I’m happy I’ll be able to live it, and live
it with my family and friends.”

Brodeur faced no more than five quality chances in winning for
the sixth time in seven games since returning from surgery on
February 26. He missed 50 games after having a torn biceps in
his left elbow repaired.

Zach Parise and John Madden scored in the opening 2:56 as the
Devils won for the 11th time in 14 games. Dainius Zubrus,
Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac also had goals.

Scottie Upshall and Steven Reinprecht tallied for the Coyotes,
who have lost four in a row and seven of eight.

Devils’ fans gloated in the woes of Phoenix coach Wayne
Gretzky’s team, remembering the Great One’s playing days when he
referred to the Devils as a Mickey Mouse organization after the
team moved to New Jersey in the early 1980s.

After the two quick goals, and at several other times during the
game, the crowd chanted “Mickey Mouse Club” to rub it in.

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It almost made Brodeur’s pursuit of the record a ho-hum part of
the game.

Taking advantage of a turnover, Parise scored 18 seconds after
the opening faceoff for his 40th of the season. It came on the
first shot against Josh Tordjman, a 24-year-old goalie making
only his second start. This one came against his fellow
Montreal native.

“The guy is a Hall of Fame goaltender, definitely one of the
tops in the league,” Tordjman said of Brodeur. “It was special,
and at the same time, I took it as a challenge. When you face
that guy, you want to beat him, for sure. It was definitely
special. Those first two goals early on, that was a bump in the
road. As the game got on, I felt more comfortable.”

Jamie Langenbrunner set up Parise’s second goal in two games by
finding the left wing in the circle. His opening shot of the
game found the back of the net.

“It’s always a good feeling to get one that quickly,” Parise
said. “It gets everyone excited, including the fans, right
away. It’s much easier in this league to play with a lead.
Regardless of who is in net, you want to make sure you get all
you can as early as you can.”

Madden stretched the margin to 2-0 with the Devils’ third shot.
Defenseman Johnny Oduya took a shot from the right point and
Madden tipped it into the corner of the net for his seventh

That spelled immediate trouble for Phoenix, which has scored
fewer than three goals in all eight games in their skid.

Upshall got the Coyotes back in the game at 9:34 with his 10th
goal early in a four-minute power play assessed to Zubrus for
high-sticking. Petr Prucha tipped a loose puck to Upshall, who
backhanded it in with Brodeur caught out of position.

New Jersey broke the game open in the second period. Brendan
Shanahan set up Zubrus for a one-timer at 7:11, and Elias
converted a 2-on-1 with Brian Gionta for a 4-1 lead.

Zajac scored in the third period with the Devils’ enjoying a
two-man advantage. Reinprecht tallied with 2:08 to go.

Now all that is left for Brodeur is getting win No. 551.

“It is going to be unbelievable,” Tordjman said of the game in
Montreal. “He is getting a chance to do it where Patrick had
glorious years of his career. Definitely, it will be special
for Marty and a big moment in the history of hockey.”