By John Schweibacher
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The Devils have cooled off after their post all-star break hot streak, entering the week with a 1-4-1 record over their last six games following a 9-1-1 stretch.
Zach Parise scored three goals in the Devils’ lone win of late, a 5-0 victory at Washington on Friday night. It was the second hat trick of Parise’s NHL career and the second three-goal game of the season by a Devils player. (Ilya Kovalchuk scored three goals in New Jersey’s 4-1 win at Buffalo on February 14.)
This is the first time that the Devils have had two hat tricks in one season since 2007-08, when New Jersey got three-goal games from Jay Pandolfo and Parise.
The Devils have not had three hat tricks in the same regular season since 2001-02 when Patrik Elias (2) and Jason Arnott combined for three three-goal games. The 1987-88 and 2000-01 New Jersey Devils each recorded six hat tricks, tying for the most in a single-season in club history.
Kirk Muller had three hat tricks in that 1987-88 season. Pat Verbeek had two, one of which was a four-goal game, and John Maclean had the other. In 2000-01, Patrick Elias had three three-goal games. Alexander Mogilny had one, while Randy McKay and John Madden each recorded a four-goal game.
Parise scored his three goals in an 11:39 stretch spanning the first and second periods.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the fastest hat trick by a Devils player since March 29th, 1993, when Stephane Richer tallied three goals in 8:22 against the Sharks at the Meadowlands. Richer’s three goals in that game came with New Jersey leading 2-0 mid-way through the second period to blow open the contest which also ended up a 5-0 Devils’ win with Chris Terreri getting the shutout.
Its rivalry week for the Devils as they host the Rangers, play a home-and-home against the Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers visit on Sunday night. New Jersey has split its four match-ups with the Rangers so far this season, dropping the most recent meeting, 2-0, at Madison Square Garden last week.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the 28 total shots on goal in that loss to the Rangers (the Rangers had 15, while the Devils had 13) was the lowest combined total in a Devils’ game in team history.
The previous low was 32 total shots in the Devils’ 3-1 win over Buffalo on October 27th, 2001 at the Meadowlands. The Devils had only 11 shots on goal (a team-record low) in that game and Buffalo had 21.
Here are the Devils all-time records for fewest shots both for and against and combined:
FEWEST SHOTS, BOTH TEAMS
28 – 2/28/12 in 2-0 loss @ NYR. (NJ 13, NYR 15)
32 – 10/27/01 in 3-1 win vs. Buf. (Buf. 21, NJ 11)
34 – 2/5/02 in 1-0 loss vs. Mtl. (NJ 19, Mtl. 15)
3/21/01 in 4-0 win vs. NYR (NJ 23, NYR 11)
1/3/97 in 1-0 win @ Ott. (Ott. 19, NJ 15)
FEWEST SHOTS, OPPONENT
8 – 12/18/96 in 2-1 win @ Van.
9 – 12/4/03 in 3-0 win vs. Wsh.
11 – 10/29/02 in 2-1 loss vs. Car.
12/4/01 in 1-1 OT tie vs. TB
3/21/01 in 4-0 win vs. NYR
11 – 10/27/01 in 3-1 win vs. Buf.
12 – 10/22/82 in 3-1 loss @ Wpg.
13 – Accomplished five times, most recently 2/27/12 in 2-0 loss @ NYR.
8 – 3/21/76 in 3-1 loss KC @ Buf. (franchise record)
That franchise-low shot performance came on March 21st, 1976 when the Kansas City Scouts managed just eight against Buffalo Sabres goalie Al Smith. K.C. had two shots in the 1st period, six more in the second (including a goal from defenseman Jean-Guy Lagace) and none in the third in the 3-1 loss.
The Scouts’ zero shot total in the last 20 minutes remains tied for the fewest in a period in franchise history, matching the goose egg in the 3rd period of a 2-2 Devils’ tie with the Boston Bruins on January 7th, 1983 at the Meadowlands.
The Devils and Islanders will play home-and-home contests on Thursday and Saturday.
New Jersey has dropped two of the three games played to date vs. the Isles, including the 1-0 loss this past Sunday.
Anders Nilsson posted his first NHL win in that Islanders’ 1-0 victory against Martin Brodeur and the Devils. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Nilsson is only the fourth goaltender whose first career win in the NHL came in a game in which Brodeur was the opposing keeper of record.
The other goaltenders who got their first NHL win at Brodeur’s expense are Brian Boucher (5-3 at Philadelphia, October 30th, 1999), Henrik Lundqvist (4-1 at New York, October 13th, 2005), and Adam Berkhoel (4-4 at Atlanta, October 22nd, 2005). Berkhoel won only one more game in the NHL and is no longer playing professional hockey.
The Flyers come to Prudential Center on Sunday night. New Jersey and Philadelphia have split their four meeting so far in 2011-12 but neither team has won a game on home-ice.
The Devils have failed to win at least one game in a season on home ice against the Flyers only three times in club history.
In 1983-84, Philadelphia took all three of the games against the Devils at the Meadowlands and took both games in New Jersey during the work-stoppage shortened 1994-95 season.
In 2000-01, the Devils and Flyers played a pair of 1-1 ties in their only two match-ups in New Jersey.
Plus: Johan Hedberg. Records third shutout of season in first start in three weeks in 5-0 win at Washington. Hedberg’s six shutouts over the past two seasons are one fewer than Martin Brodeur’s seven over the same span.
Minus: Blanked. New Jersey has been shut out twice in its last four games (2-0 at Rangers and 1-0 at Islanders) after going 60 games without being shut out, dating back to their 3-0 loss in the season opener against the Flyers.
Will the Devils turn it around during rivalry week? Sound off below…