By John Schweibacher
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Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the blockbuster deal which brought Ilya Kovalchuk to the New Jersey Devils from the Atlanta Thrashers. After 12 months and a summer-long saga to re-sign him, here are some of the numbers for Kovalchuk, the Devils and Thrashers one year later:
· Devils record since Kovalchuk deal: 31-39-9 71pts
· Thrashers record since Kovalchuk deal: 35-32-15 85pts
· Kovalchuk G-A-Pts with Devils: 27-34-61
· 3 players acquired by Atlanta G-A-Pts: 23-49-72
Top 5 Kovalchuk Moments since joining New Jersey Devils:
· 2/5/10: Kovalchuk has a pair of assists in his New Jersey debut, as Devils rally for a 4-3 win over the Maple Leafs with three goals in last 3:04 of game.
· 4/16/10: Kovalchuk has a goal and two assists in the Devils’ 5-3 win in Game 2 of their playoff series vs. Flyers.
· 10/13/10: Kovalchuk’s 1st goal of the season is the overtime winner as New Jersey gets its 1st victory of the season, 1-0, in Buffalo.
· 11/12/10: Kovalchuk atones for shootout flub in previous game by scoring in overtime as Devils rally to defeat Edmonton, 4-3.http://cbsnewyork.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=149546&action=edit&message=6
· 1/23/10: Kovalchuk’s three-point game leads New Jersey to 5-2 win over Florida, giving them a season-best four-game winning streak.
Worst 5 Kovalchuk Moments since joining New Jersey Devils:
· 4/22/10: Kovalchuk does register a series-high seven shots on goal but New Jersey is shut out, 3-0, and eliminated by Philadelphia in Game 5 of playoffs.
· 10/23/10: Kovalchuk is a healthy scratch, reportedly as punishment by head coach John MacLean for repeated lateness, as Devils are blown out by Sabres, 6-1.
· 11/10/10: Kovalchuk loses control of puck and doesn’t even get shot off on shootout attempt to seal 5-4 loss to Buffalo after New Jersey blows 3rd period lead.
· 12/18/10: Kovalchuk matches a season-worst minus-3 as Devils suffer embarrassing 7-1 defeat against his former team in Atlanta.
· 1/4/11: 1st anniversary of trade is an unhappy one for Kovalchuk as his turnover on 3rd period New Jersey power-play leads to game-tying shorthanded goal in eventual 4-3 shootout loss to Panthers.
Last week a pair of NHL goaltenders, the Islanders Rick DiPietro and Brent Johnson of the Penguins, fought one another near the end of their game in Pittsburgh. Martin Brodeur has never had a fight in his now 1,114 career games, and the Devils have not had a scrap involving one of their goalies in over 15 years. Thanks to the wesbsite hockeyfights.com, here is a list of the fights by New Jersey Devils goaltenders in club history:
· 1/25/83 at PHI Chico Resch vs. Bob Froese*
· 11/27/84 vs. MIN Ron Low vs. Harold Snepsts
· 1/24/87 vs. PHI Alain Chevrier vs. Ron Hextall*
· 10/23/89 at TOR Sean Burke vs. Mark Laforest*
· 11/17/89 vs. NYR Sean Burke vs. Mark Janssens
· 12/9/95 vs. NYI Corey Schwab vs. Tommy Soderstrom*
*opponent in fight was also a goaltender
The Devils have been involved in 29 fights so far this season which is on pace to match their total of 45 last season. Here is a list of seasons in which New Jersey has had its most fights and the club’s fighting major team leader(s) that year:
Season Devils Fights Devils Leader
· 1997-98 91 Krzysztof Oliwa 34
· 1988-89 87 David Maley 20
· 1986-87 83 P.Anderson/C.Loiselle 10
· 1990-91 81 Alan Stewart 20
· 1995-96 80 Mike Peluso 18
The Devils continue their busy post all-star break stretch of eight games in 11 days as they host the Carolina Hurricanes, visit the Toronto Maple Leafs and return home to take on the San Jose Sharks.
New Jersey and Carolina have played one another just once so far this season, a 6-3, Carolina win in Raleigh back on New Year’s Day. Including this Tuesday night’s contest, the Devils will face the ‘Canes three times in their next six games.
Thursday night’s match-up against the Maple Leafs will be the third of four meetings between New Jersey and Toronto in 2010-11. The Leafs have taken both of the first two, a 3-1 win in Toronto back on November 18th and a 4-1 victory in Newark on December 26th.
Jacques Lemaire begins the week with 598 career head coaching wins, second only to the Maple Leafs’ Ron Wilson for the most among active NHL coaches. Here is a list of the current NHL head coaches with the most career victories and where they rank on the all-time coaching wins list:
· Ron Wilson 603 7th
· Jacques Lemaire 598 8th
· Jacques Martin 586 9th
· Joel Quenneville 562 10th
· Marc Crawford 537 12th
· Lindy Ruff 507 14th
· Terry Murray 469 18th
· Barry Trotz 439 21st
· Paul Maurice 438 22nd
· Mike Babcock 357 33rd
(Totals through games of 2/6/11)
New Jersey will play its final home contest against a Western Conference opponent this season when they host the Sharks Friday night at Prudential Center. The Devils are 3-4-1 against the West at The Rock so far in 2010-11 and are now 18-11-2 all-time in home games vs. the other Conference since moving to Newark for the 2007-08 NHL season. San Jose is one of just three Western Conference clubs who are winless at Prudential Center, having lost both of their two previous trips; a 3-2 Devils’ win on February 20th, 2008 and a 6-5 New Jersey victory a little less than a year later, February 15th, 2009. The Calgary Flames (0-1-1) and Columbus Blue Jackets (0-1-0) are the only other Western teams that have yet to claim two points in a game at The Rock in its four season history.
Minus: Power-Play. Devils continue to struggle with the man-advantage, now 0-for-12 over their last five games. New Jersey is now just 6-for-58 on the PP under Jacques Lemaire.
Minus: Another Brodeur Injury. Goalie tweaks knee and is forced to leave after one period in Devils’ 4-1 win over Montreal.
Plus: Dainius Zubrus: Registers 300th career assist in 3-2 win over Rangers. Goal in 4-1 victory in Montreal gives him 11th consecutive season with at least 10 goals scored.
Plus: Out of the Cellar. New Jersey’s 9-1-2 run over their past 12 games gets them out of the 30th spot in the NHL standings for the first time since Christmas.