By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils began the season with just one point in their first two games, a 3-0 loss in Pittsburgh and a 4-3 shootout defeat at home against the Islanders. The Devils now head to western Canada to begin the longest road trip on their 2013-14 schedule.
Damien Brunner scored two goals in New Jersey’s 4-3 shootout loss against the Islanders last Friday night. Brunner’s first came 2:59 into the contest, his first as a Devil and the team’s first of the season. New Jersey trailed 3-2 when Brunner connected for the second time at 7:34 of the third.
Brunner is the 19th player in club history to score his first two Devils goals in the same game:
• Damien Brunner: 10/14/13 vs. NYI
• Dainius Zubrus: 11/8/07 vs. Phi
• Mike Rupp: 1/13/03 vs. Fla
• Claude Lemieux*: 11/6/99 vs. Tor
• Steve Thomas: 10/12/95 vs. Wpg
• David Emma: 12/11/93 vs. Edm
• Ben Hankinson: 3/23/93 vs. TB
• Valeri Zelepukin: 12/31/91 at Pit
• Dave Barr: 12/26/91 at NYI
• Stephane Richer: 10/5/91 vs. Stl
• Troy Crowder: 10/23/90 at NYI
• Laurie Boschman: 10/13/90 vs. Cgy
• Claude Lemieux*: 10/4/90 vs. Det
• Peter Stastny: 3/10/90 vs. Que
• Walt Poddubny: 10/7/89 vs. Pit
• Sylvain Turgeon: 10/5/89 at Phi (3)
• George McPhee 10/16/87 vs. Mtl
• Uli Heimer: 10/31/84 vs. Pit (3)
• Gary McAdam: 11/2/83 at Hfd
(*-Lemieux accomplished the feat in each of his two stints with New Jersey.)
Jaromir Jagr did not score in either of his first two games for New Jersey. The future Hall of Famer has scored 681 career goals, the 10th most all-time in NHL history. Here is the list of players who had at least 300 goals scored before being acquired (or re-acquired) by the Devils, and how many goals they went on to score for New Jersey:
• Jaromir Jagr: 681, 0
• Brendan Shanahan*: 650, 6
• Joe Nieuwendyk: 492, 19
• Dave Andreychuk: 468, 64
• Stephane Richer*: 420, 1
• Alexander Mogilny*: 415, 12
• Bernie Nicholls: 392, 24
• Jason Arnott*: 383, 13
• Peter Stastny: 380, 54
• Doug Gilmour: 361, 20
• Ilya Kovalchuk: 328, 89
• Bobby Holik*: 322, 4
• Claude Lemieux*: 320, 17
• Petr Sykora*: 302, 21
(*-goal total at beginning of second stint with Devils)
New Jersey lost in the shootout to the Islanders on Friday night, 4-3. Matt Moulson scored the only goal in the tiebreaker, ending it in the sixth round.
The longest 1-0 shootout loss for the Devils was back on December 9, 2005, against the Avalanche at the Meadowlands. Colorado’s Anti Laaksonen scored in the seventh round against Martin Brodeur to break a scoreless shootout deadlock and give the Avs a 4-3 win.
Brodeur, who went 0-4 in shootouts last season, has not won a tiebreaker since February 27, 2012, a 2-1 win over the Blackhawks in Newark. The streak of five straight shootout losses is Brodeur’s longest since the tiebreaker was introduced in 2005. Brodeur dropped three in a row during the 2006-07 season and three straight again in 2009-10.
Friday night’s home opener was the sixth in Devils history to go to overtime or a shootout:
• 1989-90: 4-4 tie vs. Pittsburgh
• 1990-91: 3-3 tie vs. Detroit
• 2003-04: 2-2 tie vs. Toronto
• 2006-07: 7-6 SO win vs. Toronto
• 2010-11: 4-3 SO loss vs. Dallas
• 2013-14: 4-3 SO loss vs. NY Islanders
The Devils head to Canada this week to begin a five-game road swing. After back-to-back contests against the Oilers and Canucks on Monday and Tuesday night, the Devils will face the Flames on Thursday, the Jets on Sunday and then finish the trip against the Senators next Thursday.
The only other time New Jersey played five Canadian-based clubs in a row on the road was in 1998 when they faced Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa on the same trip. The Devils went 2-1-2 in those five games.
The last time the Devils faced teams from Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver on the same trip was in 1994, when New Jersey went 1-1-2 against the original Jets, Oilers, Flames and Canucks.
• Plus: Damien Brunner – Leads Devils with two goals and 12 shots on goal through first two games.
• Minus: Shut out, start out – New Jersey’s 3-0 loss in Pittsburgh was the second shutout loss in a season opener in club history, and the fifth in their last 13 games dating back to last season.
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