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Schwei: Devils Notes And Observations From The Week That Was

Steve Sullivan (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

Steve Sullivan (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

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By John Schweibacher
» More Columns

The New Jersey Devils are on the outside looking in at a playoff spot thanks to a seven-game winless streak (0-3-4) that has left them two points behind both the Rangers and Islanders for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Only two of the Devils’ nine remaining games will be against teams currently below New Jersey in the standings. The Devils last win against a team currently in one of the top eight spots was back on February 21 at Washington.

Here are the Devils’ records so far this season against the teams they will face the rest of the way:

4/10 vs Boston: 0-1-1
4/12 vs Ottawa: 0-0-2
4/15 at Toronto: 0-2-0
4/18 at Philadelphia: 3-0-1
4/20 vs Florida: 1-0-1
4/21 at NY Rangers: 1-1-0
4/23 vs Montreal: 0-1-1
4/25 vs Pittsburgh: 2-1-0
4/27 at NY Rangers: 1-1-0

Steve Sullivan was acquired in a trade from the Phoenix Coyotes at last Wednesday’s trade deadline and became the 24th player to be re-acquired and play for the Devils.

Before appearing in the 1-0 loss in Boston, Sullivan had last played for the Devils 16 years and 45 days ago on February 20, 1997 in a 2-2 tie at Florida.

Five days later, Sullivan was traded to Toronto with Jason Smith and Alyn McCauley in exchange for Doug Gilmour and Dave Ellett.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Sullivan’s time between stints with one NHL team now ranks third in NHL history behind Brendan Shanahan (New Jersey: March 31st, 1991-January 19th, 2009 — 17 years, 294 days) and Randy Cunneyworth (Buffalo: December 17th, 1981-November 7th, 1998 – 16 years, 325 days).

Sullivan scored his first goal in his return to the Devils in the 3-2 shootout loss in Buffalo. It was Sullivan’s first goal for New Jersey since February 15, 1997 — a 4-1 Devils win at Montreal.

Here are the longest gaps between goals in separate stints with the Devils:

Brendan Shanahan: 17 years, 2 months and 20 days (3/31/91 vs. NY Islanders-1/19/09 at Nashville)

Steve Sullivan: 16 years, 1 month and 23 days (2/15/07 at Montreal-4/7/13 at Buffalo)

Jim Dowd: 10 years, 11 months and 20 days (11/18/95 vs. Buffalo-11/7/06 vs. Carolina)

Petr Sykora: 9 years, 6 months and 17 days (4/12/02 vs. Montreal-10/29/11 at Dallas)

Brian Rolston: 8 years, 11 months and 9 days (10/27/99 vs. St. Louis-10/16/08 at Atlanta)

Jason Arnott: 8 years, 7 months and 8 days (3/1/02 vs. Toronto-10/7/10 vs. Dallas)

Bobby Holik: 6 years, 8 months and 13 days (4/1/02 at NY Islanders-12/13/08 vs. Buffalo)

Tommy Albelin: 6 years, 4 months and 19 days (10/19/95 vs. Detroit-3/10/02 at Dallas)

Pascal Rheaume: 6 years & 23 days (2/20/97 at Florida-3/15/03 vs. NY Rangers)

Vladimir Malakhov: 5 years, 6 months and 18 days (4/2/00 at Tampa Bay-10/20/05 at Pittsburgh)

Stephane Richer: 5 years, 11 months and 27 days (3/28/96 at St. Louis-3/27/02 at Pittsburgh)

Claude Lemieux: 4 years, 6 months and 9 days (4/28/95 vs. Florida-11/6/99 vs. Toronto)

Alexander Mogilny: 4 years, 6 months and 4 days (4/3/01 at Washington-10/7/05 at Philadelphia)

Mike Rupp: 2 years, 8 months and 26 days (2/14/04 vs. Carolina-11/9/06 vs. Chicago)

Sullivan recently appeared in his 1,000th NHL game. Only 13 other players who were originally selected by New Jersey in the entry draft have played in at least that many NHL game. And Sullivan, who was taken 233rd overall in 1994, is the only one who was not drafted in the first three rounds:

Player - Year - RD/Number - Career Games

Brendan Shanahan: 1987, 1/2, 1524
Pat Verbeek: 1982, 3/43, 1424
Kirk Muller: 1984, 1/2, 1349
Ken Daneyko: 1982, 1/18, 1283
Scott Niedermayer: 1991, 1/3, 1263
Bill Guerin: 1989, 1/5, 1263
Brian Rolston: 1991, 1/11, 1256
Martin Brodeur: 1990, 1/20 1213
John MacLean: 1983, 1/6, 1194
Eric Weinrich: 1985, 2/32, 1157
Patrik Elias: 1994, 2/51 1081
Petr Sykora: 1995, 1/18, 1017
Jason Smith: 1992, 1/18, 1008
Steve Sullivan: 1994, 9/233, 1004

Schwei’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Mark Fayne — The defenseman’s first goal in 49 games dating back to 2/21/12 at Toronto was also New Jersey’s NHL-leading 10th shorthanded goal of the season.

Minus: Unlucky Seven — The Devils’ seven-game losing streak is New Jersey’s longest since dropping seven in a row from January 24 to February 8 in 1986.

Is Wednesday night’s game against the Bruins a must-win for New Jersey? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…