Devils

Schwei On Ice: Devils Looking To Roll At The Rock

Jerry Sorce of Livingston, New Jersey shows up to support the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Jerry Sorce of Livingston, New Jersey shows up to support the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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By John Schweibacher
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The Devils have yet to win a game at Prudential Center so far this season, going 0-5-1. It’s the club’s worst start through six games on home-ice since 1983-84. The Devils have only had five seasons in which they did not get a home victory by at least their 3rd home contest:

· 1983-84 0-6-0
· 2010-11 0-5-1
· 2003-04 0-3-1
· 1989-90 0-2-1
· 2009-10 0-3-0

New Jersey’s six-game home-ice winless streak is its first since November 1st through 14th of 2000 when they also went 0-5-1. The Devils’ longest-ever winless streak at home was back on December 22nd, 1985 through February 6th, 1986 when they lost nine consecutive games at the Meadowlands. That streak ended with a 4-3 win over the eventual Stanley Cup champion, Montreal Canadiens on February 13th, 1986. John MacLean had one assist in the win while future Devils head coach and current assistant Larry Robinson had an assist in the loss as Glenn “Chico” Resch defeated Patrick Roy.

While the Devils have failed to win a home game, the New Jersey Nets have already won twice at Prudential Center in their first season at The Rock as they await the opening of their new arena in Brooklyn. The Devils and Nets shared the Meadowlands arena for 25 years from the 1982-83 through the 2006-07 seasons. Here are the best and worst combined win totals for the two teams in the 22 seasons (which were unaffected by NHL or NBA work stoppages) they shared the same building:

Best

Year – Devils Home Wins – Nets Home Wins – Total
·2002-03 –  25 – 33 – 58
· 1993-94 – 28* – 29 – 57
·2005-06 – 27 – 29 – 56
· 1997-98 – 29 – 26 – 55
· 2001-02 – 22 – 33 – 55
(1993-94 total does not include a neutral-site win)

Worst

Devils Home wins Nets Home wins Total

· 1988-89 – 17 – 17 – 34
· 1989-90 – 22 – 13 – 35
· 1983-84 – 10 – 29 – 39
· 1986-87 – 20 – 19  – 39
· 1987-88 – 23 – 16 – 39
· 1996-97 – 23 – 16 – 39

Brad Mills scored his 1st NHL goal in the Devils 5-3 victory over the Blackhawks last week. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Mills is the 6th player in club history to score his first career goal against the reigning Stanley Cup champion. Here are the six players whose first NHL goals came with the New Jersey Devils in a game against the defending cup winner:

· Jeff Madill 1/12/91 5-4 OT loss vs. Edmonton (Kari Takko)
· Myles O’Connor 1/12/91 5-4 OT loss vs. Edm (Kari Takko)
· Valeri Zelpukin 12/31/95 7-4 win at Pittsburgh (Wendell Young)
· David Clarkson 3/17/07 7-2 loss vs. Carolina (John Grahame)
· Mark Fraser 10/24/09 4-1 win at Pittsburgh (Marc-Andre Fleury)
· Brad Mills 11/3/10 5-3 win at Chicago (Marty Turco)

Johan Hedberg got his first victory as a New Jersey Devil after replacing the injured Martin Brodeur in the 2nd period of the Devils 5-3 win over the Blackhawks last week in Chicago. Hedberg is the 19th goaltender in club history to register at least one victory. Three Devils goalies finished their New Jersey stints with just one win:

· Hannu Kamppuri 1/12/85 5-3 vs. Washington (Pat Riggin)
· Chad Erickson 3/24/92 4-3 vs. San Jose (Jarmo Myllys)
· J.F. Damphousse 1/9/02 5-1 vs. Calgary (Roman Turek)

Give credit to long-time Devils beat writer, Rich Chere, of the Star-Ledger, who points out that John MacLean’s 4-10-1 start as head coach is not the worst in club history. Here is his list of the records for Devils head coaches in their first 15 games:

· Doug Carpenter 3-10-2 (8 points)
· John MacLean 4-10-1 (9 points)
· Billy MacMillan 3-8-4 (10 points)
· John Cunniff 5-9-1 (11 points)
· Tom McVie 5-8-2 (12 points)
· Brent Sutter 6-7-2 (14 points)
· Jim Schoenfeld 7-8-0 (14 points)
· Herb Brooks 8-7-0 (16 points)
· Lou Lamoriello 7-6-2 (16 points)
· Larry Robinson 8-6-1 (17 points)
· Kevin Constantine 8-5-2 (18 points)
· Robbie Ftorek 9-6-0 (18 points)
· Claude Julien 9-5-1 (19 points)
· Pat Burns 10-5-0 (20 points)
· Jacques Lemaire 12-3-0 (24 points)

Stephen Gionta, the younger brother of Brian, made his Devils debut last Friday against the Rangers. The Gionta’s become the fifth set of brothers to play for New Jersey, joining Aaron and Neal Broten, Claude and Jocelyn Lemieux, Scott and Rob Niedermayer and Patrik and Peter Sundstrom.

The Niedermayer’s 963 combined regular-season games played with New Jersey rank first among the brother combos, followed by Broten (669), Gionta (474 and counting), Lemieux (441) and Sundstrom (326).

Misery loves company as the Devils host two other struggling teams this week, The Sabres, who come into the week 14th in the Eastern Conference one point ahead of New Jersey with a record of 4-9-2, face the Devils for the third time this season Wednesday night. New Jersey won the first meeting between the two teams, a 1-0 overtime victory in Buffalo on October 13th but the Sabres defeated the Devils, 5-1, when the two clubs met in Newark 10 days later. New Jersey and Buffalo will not meet again until March 24th.

The Edmonton Oilers start the week tied with the Sabres for the second-worst record in the NHL at 4-6-2. The Devils have lost their last two meetings with Edmonton at Prudential Center; a 2-0 loss last season and a 2-1 defeat in 2008-09. Both losses came against Oilers goalie Jeff Deslauriers. New Jersey will not have to worry about Deslauriers this Friday night when they host Edmonton. The netminder was sent down to their AHL farm club, the Oklahoma City Barons, last week.

Schwei’s Plus/Minus:

Minus: Power-Play. Devils just one for their last 33 with the man-advantage.

Minus: Home-ice. New Jersey is winless in six (0-5-1) at Rock.

Minus: Last place. Devils begin week with NHL’s worst record; 4-10-1–9 points.

Plus: Help is on the way. Brian Rolston (hernia surgery) and Matt Corrente (broken hand) both return to practice and could be ready to play again this week. Martin Brodeur (bruised elbow) and Colin White (flu) should also be back after sitting out game vs. Rangers.