By John Schweibacher
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The Devils suffered their first regulation loss since the All-Star game, a 3-1 defeat against the Florida Panthers this past Saturday, giving New Jersey a 5-1-1 mark since the break.

Last season, the Devils sprinted out of the gate after the NHL’s all-star break, going 10-0-1 before losing a game in regulation and going 17-2-1 in the 20 games following the 2011 All-Star game before dropping five of six to end their hopes of a miracle run to make the playoffs.

Here are the Devils best 7-game stretches following the NHL All-Star game in club history:

Best Seven Games After All-Star Break:

•2010-11 6-0-1 12 pts
•2011-12 5-1-1 11 pts
•2005-07 5-1-1 11 pts
•1995-96 4-0-3 11 pts
•2008-09 5-2-0 10 pts

Martin Brodeur recorded his first shutout of the season and the 117th of his NHL career, 1-0 over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden last Tuesday.

Brodeur’s first shutout in 2011-12 came in his 35th start of the season.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the most starts that Brodeur has needed to post his first shutout in any season of his 18-year NHL career. His previous high was 32 starts in the 2005-06 season.

Brodeur’s 1-0 victory was also just his second shutout in 46 regular-season career starts at MSG. His other regular-season shutout at the Garden came back on January 12th, 2010, a 1-0 shootout victory.

Brodeur does have one post-season shutout against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. On April 26th, 2006, Brodeur and the Devils won game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semi-finals series, 3-0, in New York.

The Devils wrap up their season series with the Sabres Tuesday night in Buffalo. New Jersey took the first two meetings; 5-3 in Buffalo back on November 16th and 3-1 back on December 28th at Prudential Center.

The Sabres won the last time the two teams faced one another, a 2-1 shootout victory on January 24th. Buffalo has won each of the last four games with New Jersey which have gone to the shootout after dropping the first three shootouts the two clubs played back in 2007-08.

Here are the Devils best and worst shootout records against teams they have played at least three tie-breakers against:

Best Records vs. Opponents in Shootouts:

• Philadelphia 7-0
• Washington 6-0
• Ottawa 4-0
• Boston 3-0
• Tampa Bay 4-1

Worst Records vs. Opponents in Shootouts:

• Toronto 1-4
• Winnipeg/Atlanta 1-3
• NY Islanders 2-3
• Buffalo 3-4
• NY Rangers 5-5

The Anaheim Ducks make their lone visit to New Jersey this Friday night.

The two teams have not met since back on October 29th, 2010, a 2-1 Devils’ win in Anaheim.

New Jersey also won the last time the two clubs played in Newark, a 3-1 victory back on November 11th, 2009. If you include all four of their home-ice wins in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, the Devils are a combined 12-2-0 all-time against the Ducks in New Jersey.

The only two wins for Anaheim in New Jersey came 12 years apart. The first was on February 11th, 1996, a 4-2 Mighty Ducks victory the Devils.

Todd Ewen, David Sacco, Paul Kariya and current Duck Teemu Selanne scored for Anaheim to get the win for goalie Guy Hebert over Martin Brodeur. Current Devil Petr Sykora and another future Duck, Scott Niedermayer had the goals for New Jersey.

On February 8th, 2008, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Ducks defeated the Devils, 2-1, with current Devil Ryan Carter scoring his first two NHL goals.

The Devils and Canadiens meet for the fourth and final time this season Sunday night in Montreal. New Jersey has taken two of three so far vs. the Habs. The Devils have won seven in a row against the Canadiens in Montreal dating back to March 11th, 2008. In fact, New Jersey’s pair of losses 10 days apart in Montreal that season, are the club’s only defeats in Quebec in their last 13 trips to Bell Centre since the lockout.

Former Devil Scott Gomez ended his 53-game goal drought when he scored his first goal of the 2011-12 season for the Canadiens in their win last week against the Islanders.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Gomez goalless streak, which lasted one year and three days, was seven games longer than his two longest previous goal droughts combined: 25 games from March 2001 to November 2001 and 21 games from November 2000 to January 2001 (both when he played for the Devils).

Schwei’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Steve Bernier. Devils’ newcomer scored his first goal of the season for New Jersey in 3-1 loss to Florida. Bernier, who was selected 16th overall by San Jose in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, one spot ahead of Zach Parise, now has three points and is a plus-3 in seven games with the Devils.

Minus: Ex-Hex. Former Devils goaltender Scott Clemmensen led the Panthers to the 3-1 win at New Jersey on Saturday afternoon. Clemmensen is now 4-0-0 with a 2.05 goals-against average in five career games against the Devils. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Clemmensen is now tied with Sean Burke for the second-most wins against New Jersey by a former Devils goaltender. Kirk McLean is first with nine.

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