By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils traded Captain Jamie Langenbrunner to the Dallas Stars last week for a conditional third-round draft choice. It was just the 3rd time in club history that New Jersey dealt its captain away. Mel Bridgman, New Jersey’s 2nd captain, was traded to the Detroit Red Wings on March 9th, 2007 in exchange for Chris Cichocki (who would play just seven career games for the Devils) and a third-round pick. On September 20th, 1991, Lou Lamoriello sent captain Kirk Muller and Roland Melanson to Montreal for Stephane Richer and Tom Chorske.
Langenbrunner, who was acquired from Dallas along with Joe Nieuwendyk in exchange for Jason Arnott, Randy McKay and a first-round draft choice on March 19th, 2002, had the fourth longest tenure among current New Jersey Devils. Only Martin Brodeur, who made his Devils debut on March 26th, 1992, Patrik Elias (December 7th, 1995) and Colin White (January 11th, 2000) had appeared in a game for New Jersey prior to Langenbrunner’s arrival. Zach Parise, who made his Devils’ debut on October 5th, 2005, and Travis Zajac (October 6th, 2006) are now the 4th and 5th longest tenured players for New Jersey.
Martin Brodeur picked up his second assist of the season in the Devils’ 6-3 victory over Tampa Bay this past Sunday. Brodeur now has 36 career assists, the most among active goalies and the 6th most all-time in NHL history:
Goalie – Career Assists
· Tom Barrasso 48
· Patrick Roy 45
· Grant Fuhr 40
· Mike Vernon 39
· John Vanbiesbrouck 38
· Martin Brodeur 36
Active Goalies – Career Assists
· Martin Brodeur 36
· Marty Turco 22
· Chris Osgood 19
· Tomas Vokoun 19
· Nikolai Khabibulin 18
Brodeur snapped his six-game losing streak with that win over the Lightning. The NHL’s all-time winningest goalie is just 6-18-1 this season and has been pulled from six games for either injury or performance, matching his total from last season. The most games Brodeur has been pulled from during a season in seven, which occurred in both 1993-94 and 1995-96 and not counting Mike Dunham’s handful of one minute or less appearances in 1996-97, which were meant to avoid losing Dunham to free agency because of a lack of “games” played.
Credit the Devils Hall of Fame play-by-play voice, Mike Emrick, and the crew at MSG Plus for this list; New Jersey’s number of wins in relation to how many goals in a game they have scored through their first 42 games played:
Goals – Games – Wins
· 0 – 4 – 0
· 1 – 20 – 3
· 2 – 7 – 1
· 3+ – 11 – 7
The Devils head to the Sunshine State for match-ups with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers this weekend and then return home for a Monday afternoon matinee on Long Island against the Islanders.
New Jersey won its meeting with the Lightning last Sunday, 6-3, in the first of four match-ups with Tampa Bay this season. The Lightning is led by Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis who are both among the top five in the NHL in scoring. Here are the best and worst 1-2 combos in terms of scoring by teams so far this season through the games of January 11th:
Top 5 Scoring NHL Combos
· Tampa Bay Stamkos & St. Louis 110 pts
· Vancouver D.Sedin & H. Sedin 110 pts
· Pittsburgh Crosby & Letang 103 pts
· Anaheim Getzlaf & Perry 92 pts
· Detroit Zetterberg & Lidstrom 90 pts
Lowest 5 Scoring Combos:
· Ottawa Alfredsson & Karlsson 51 pts
· New Jersey Elias & Kovalchuk 53 pts
· Edmonton Penner & Whitney 54 pts
· NY Islanders Tavares & Comeau 55 pts
· Florida Weiss & Frolik 55 pts
Saturday night’s match-up with the Florida Panthers in Sunrise will be the first between the Devils and Panthers this season. The two clubs split their four meetings in 2009-10.
The Devils have lost both of their games against the Islanders so far this season; a 2-0 defeat at Nassau Coliseum on November 26th, which was also Jack Capuano’s first after taking over as the club’s head coach and a 5-1 loss at Prudential Center on December 23rd in Jacques Lemaire’s return to the Devils’ bench.
The Isles’ win that night was also a matchup of the two oldest goaltenders in the NHL: 41-year-old Dwayne Roloson and 38-year-old Martin Brodeur. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Roloson’s win was his first in the eight career games in which he had faced Brodeur (six starts, two relief appearances). Roloson, who was dealt to Tampa Bay on January 1st, had five losses, one tie and one no-decision in his seven previous games against Brodeur.
Plus: Big Six. Devils score season high six goals in 6-3 victory over the Lightning and win for just the second time all season when trailing after two periods.
Minus: Power-Play. New Jersey’s PP was 10-for-30 with at least one goal in each of the last eight games under former coach John MacLean but has now gone just 2-for-28 in the nine games since Jacques Lemaire took over.