By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils may not make this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs but Jason Arnott will, after Lou Lamoriello made the trade deadline move sending Arnott to the Washington Capitals for David Steckel and a second-round draft choice in 2012.
Steckel had five goals and six assists in 57 games for the Capitals this season but his biggest strength is in the face-off circle where he leads the NHL with a 63.7 face-off winning percentage. The 28-year-old center has averaged better than 59 percent on draws over the past four seasons. No Devils player has done better than 58.5 percent of face-offs in a season since Joe Nieuwendyk back in 2002-03.
Arnott concludes his second New Jersey stint with 13 goals and 11 assists in 62 games played this season. The 36-year-old center’s 245 career points (110 goals, 135 assists) with New Jersey rank 23rd all-time club history.
Johan Hedberg had his seven-game winning streak snapped in the Devils’ 2-1 loss to the Lightning last Friday night in Tampa. There have only been 10 other winning streaks of seven games or longer by a New Jersey goaltender in club history and seven of those belong to Martin Brodeur:
Longest winning streaks by Devils goalies:
· 12 Martin Brodeur 10/23-11/20 1997
· 11 Martin Brodeur 2/26-3/21 2001
· 11 Martin Brodeur 3/28-4/18 2006
· 10 Martin Brodeur 1/3-1/26 2000
· 9 Martin Brodeur 1/3-1/21 2006
· 9 Martin Brodeur 11/17-12/07 2007
· 8 Chris Terreri 1/29-2/18 2002
· 7 Sean Burke 3/20-4/3 1988
· 7 Martin Brodeur 2/16-3/15 1997
· 7 Scott Clemmensen 1/13-1/30 2009
· 7 Johan Hedberg 2/8-2/22 2011
Hedberg also has three shutouts, tied for the most ever by Devils goalie in a single season other than Brodeur:
· 3 Sean Burke 1988-89
· 3 Johan Hedberg 2010-11
· 2 Craig Billington 1991-92
· 2 Craig Billington 1992-93
· 2 Chris Terreri 1992-93
· 2 Chris Terreri 1993-94
· 2 Mike Dunham 1996-97
· 2 Scott Clemmensen 2003-04
· 2 Scott Clemmensen 2008-09
Brodeur has posted at least three shutouts in each of his 17 seasons with New Jersey.
Ilya Kovalchuk’s scoring streak was snapped at 12 games in the 2-1 victory in Florida. Only nine players in Devils history have now had streaks of 12 games or longer:
· 15 Brian Gionta (12 G, 13 A, 25 PTS) 3/21-4/18 2006
· 15 Patrik Elias (15 G, 9 A, 24 PTS) 12/27/99-1/28/00
· 13 Patrik Elias (12 G, 13 A, 25 PTS) 3/13-4/06 2001
· 13 Petr Sykora (6 G, 17 A, 23 PTS) 3/13-4/6 2001
· 12 Aaron Broten (4 G, 14 A, 18 PTS) 12/15/84-1/6/85
· 12 Pat Verbeek (9 G, 11 A, 20 PTS) 12/26/87-1/19/88
· 12 Scott Stevens (4 G, 14 A, 18 PTS) 3/5-3/27 1994
· 12 Jeff Friesen (8 G, 5 A, 13 PTS) 2/12-3/8 2003
· 12 Ilya Kovalchuk (7 G, 7 A, 14 PTS) 2/1-2/25 2011
The Devils are now 18-9-2 this season under Jacques Lemaire. New Jersey’s second half turnaround has some, including NHL.com last week, making the case for Lemaire to win his 3rd Jack Adams Award as NHL’s Coach of the Year.
Only two coaches who have won the award did so after taking over a team during the season; Bill Barber of the Flyers in 2000-01 and Bruce Boudreau of the Capitals in 2007-08.
Barber took over in Philadelphia after Craig Ramsey was let go after 26 games with a record of 12-12-4 and then went 31-13-10 under Barber.
Boudreau replaced Glen Hanlon at Thanksgiving after Washington go off to a 6-14-1 start and then guided the Caps to a 37-17-7 record and a Southeast Division title.
Only two Jack Adams Award winners won the honor without leading their clubs to at least a .500 record. Bobby Kromm won the award in 1978 after guiding the Red Wings to a 32-34-14 record, improving upon Detroit’s 16-55-9 mark the season before. Jacques Demers did the same with the Wings in 1986-87 by going 34-36-10, up from their 17-57-6 record the previous season. No Jack Adams Award winner has ever been the coach of a team that failed to reach the post-season.
The Devils went 11-1-1 with 23 points in February, the best record of any NHL team for the calendar month. New Jersey had the worst record in the NHL this past October (3-8-1 7 PTS) and again in December (2-11-0 4 PTS). Here are the best months in Devils history in terms of total points:
· 26 12-1-2 March 1994
13-2-0 March 2001
· 24 11-2-2 January 2003
· 23 10-1-3 January 2000
· 23 11-1-1 February 2011
· 22 11-4-0 March 1990
11-3-0 January 2009
11-4-0 December 2009
The Devils return home for games this week against the Lightning and Penguins before heading out to Long Island to face the Islanders Sunday afternoon.
New Jersey has taken two out of three from Tampa Bay so far in 2010-11. The Lightning defeated the Devils, 2-1, in their most recent meeting last Friday, ending New Jersey’s eight-game winning streak. Tampa Bay’s victory allowed them to complete an NHL record-tying 12-game homestand with a 7-3-2 record. The only other team to have a 12-game homestand in NHL history was the California Golden Seals, who went 4-7-1 from November 26th through December 28th 1975. California’s record homestand ended with a 3-1 loss to the Devils’ predecessors, the Kansas City Scouts. Both clubs would re-locate to Cleveland and Denver respectively, the following season.
The Devils and Penguins will meet for the fourth time this season Friday night at Prudential Center. Pittsburgh took the first two contests between the two clubs but New Jersey won the last meeting, 2-0, back on January 20th.
This week marks the one-year anniversary of Canada’s Gold Medal win over Team U.S.A at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Neither Zach Parise, who scored the game-tying goal for the Americans with 24.4 seconds remaining in the 3rd period nor Sidney Crosby who won the game with a goal in overtime will be playing in this week’s game. Parise, who has not played since October 30th because of a torn meniscus, begins the week having now missed 50 games for the Devils. Crosby, out since January 5th with a concussion, has sat out the last 23 games for the Penguins.
· Devils with/without Parise: 3-8-1 24-23-3
· Penguins with/without Crosby: 26-12-3 11-9-3
New Jersey will also be facing the New York Islanders for the fourth time in 2010-11 when the two clubs face-off Sunday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum. Just as the Penguins did, the Isles took the first two meetings with the Devils before dropping the 3rd to New Jersey, 5-2 back on January 17th.
Plus: Good Starts. Devils have either been ahead or tied after the first period in each of their last 20 games.
Plus: Good Through Two. Devils have held their opponents without a goal through two periods in six of their last seven games.
Plus: Two or Less. The Devils are 9-1-0 over their last 10 games, having held their opponents to two or fewer goals in each game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the second-longest streak of consecutive games allowing no more than two goals in franchise history, behind their 11-game skein in November 1997.