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Schwei: Devils Notes And Observations From The Week That Was

Devils 3-7-2 In Recent Games Without Brodeur
Ilya Kovalchuk (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Ilya Kovalchuk (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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By John Schweibacher
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Martin Brodeur returned to practice Monday for the Devils for the first time since going down with a sore back three weeks ago. New Jersey is just 3-7-2 since Brodeur last played back on February 21st in Washington.

Johan Hedberg has gotten all of the starts in goal for the Devils in Brodeur’s absence and made his career-high 12th consecutive start Saturday night in the 2-1 loss against the Canadiens.

The last time a Devils goalie other than Martin Brodeur started as many as 12 straight times for New Jersey was back in 2008-09 when Scott Clemmensen made 13 consecutive starts from December 16th through January 8th, going 7-5-1. Brodeur once made 44 consecutive starts in goal for New Jersey from January 3rd through April 13th, 1996. That string of starts broke Chico Resch’s single-season club record of 17, which was set in the Devils’ first season, from December 26th, 1982 through February 3rd, 1983.

Brodeur also holds the overall club mark of 51 consecutive starts in goal, which spanned two seasons, from January 8th through November 1st, 2008.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored another shorthanded goal this past Wednesday in the Devils’ victory over the Flyers. It was Kovalchuk’s career-high fourth shorthanded goal of the season, tying him for the third most in team history and just two shy of the Devils’ single-season record:

· John Madden (1999-00) 6
· Brian Rolston (1998-99) 5
· Adam Henrique (2011-12) 4
· Stephane Richer (1995-96) 4
· Doug Brown (1987-88) 4
· Ilya Kovalchuk (2012-13) 4

Kovalchuk’s shorthanded goal was also the club’s eighth of the season, an NHL best. No other team has more than 5. New Jersey led the NHL with 15 shorthanded goals in the full 82-game season last year.

Here are the highest Devils’ single-season team totals of shorthanded
goals:

· 1987-88 18
· 1991-92 15
· 2011-12 15
· 2008-09 12
· 1995-96 11
· 1989-90 10
· 1993-94 10
· (4 seasons) 9

The Flyers’ 2-1 win over the Devils Friday night was their first ever shootout victory against New Jersey. Going into Friday night’s game, the Devils and Flyers had gone to the shootout seven times since the NHL began using the tiebreaker in 2005 and New Jersey had prevailed each time.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that matched the longest streak of consecutive shootout wins by one NHL team against another. The Sabres won their first seven shootouts versus the Canadiens (before Montreal ended that streak with a win in February 2012) and the Oilers have a current streak of seven consecutive shootout victories against the Red Wings.

Last week, Pete DeBoer recorded his 60th win as Devils head coach, moving him past the late John Cuniff for the seventh-most in club
history:

.1) Jacques Lemaire 276
.2) Doug Carpenter 100
.3) Brent Sutter 97
.4) Pat Burns 89
.5) Robbie Ftorek 88
.6) Larry Robinson 87
.7) Pete DeBoer 61
.8) John Cunniff 59

Since the advent of the shootout, wins in the NHL have been somewhat easier to collect since there are no more ties, but even with help of the tie-breaker, DeBoer didn’t quite reach the 60-win plateau as Devils head coach as quickly as some of the other coaches in club history:

60th Win/Career Game as NJD Coach

· Larry Robinson 103
· Robbie Ftorek 106
· Brent Sutter 106
· Pat Burns 107
· Pete DeBoer 108
· Jacques Lemaire 116
· Doug Carpenter 179

Schwei’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Scoring First: New Jersey is 10-1-2 when scoring first this season.

Minus: Not Scoring First: New Jersey is 3-9-4 when allowing the first goal this season.

How badly do the Devils need a healthy Brodeur? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…