By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils reached the 20-game mark on Saturday night with their 4-1 win against the Penguins. The Devils have gone 6-3-1 in their last 10 games after going 1-5-4 through the first 10 this season.
Despite the Devils’ improved play over their last 10 games, their 7-8-5 record (19 points) through 20 games is the seventh-worst in club history:
Devils’ worst records through 20 games:
• 1983-84: 2-18-0, 4 pts
• 2010-11: 5-13-2, 12 pts
• 1982-83: 3-11-6, 12 pts
• 1984-85: 6-12-2, 14 pts
• 2007-08: 8-10-2, 18 pts
• 2001-02: 8-10-2, 18 pts
• 2013-14: 7-8-5, 19 pts
Here are the Devils’ best records through 20 games:
• 1997-98: 15-5-0, 30 pts
• 2009-10: 14-5-1, 29 pts
• 2003-04: 12-3-5, 29 pts
• 1993-94: 14-5-1, 29 pts
• 1987-88: 12-6-2, 26 pts
Defensemen Andy Greene and Adam Larsson each scored a goal for the Devils in their 4-1 win over the Penguins. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was only the second time in the last four seasons that two different New Jersey defensemen scored goals in the same game.
The other instance since the start of the 2010-11 season was on October 26, when Greene and Marek Zidlicky each scored once in a 4-3 Devils win at Boston.
The Devils make their second western swing of the season this week when they face the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. New Jersey is 0-2-3 against Pacific Division opponents so far this season.
This will be the 10th time in club history that the Devils will face all three California teams on the same road trip. The only time New Jersey won all three games against the Ducks, Kings and Sharks on the same road trip was in November of 2001.
The Devils faced the Kings for the first time since the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals this past Friday night and were shut out, 2-0.
Here is how the Devils fared in their previous first-time matchups against teams they had played in the Finals:
• 10/19/95: Detroit 2 @ NJD 4 — The Devils trail 2-1 after one period but unanswered goals from Tommy Albelin, Brian Rolston and Jim Dowd lead New Jersey to the come-from-behind victory.
• 12/20/00: Dallas 1 @ NJD 4 — Scott Stevens and all three members of “The A Line” — Jason Arnott, Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias — combine for four goals and seven assists as the Devils knock out Ed Belfour in the first period.
• 11/18/01: Colorado 2 @ NJD 0 — Rob Blake scores twice and Patrick Roy stops all 33 shots he faces in the Devils’ shutout loss at the Meadowlands.
• 11/26/03: NJD 3 @ Anaheim 3 — Third-period goals from Elias and John Madden give New Jersey a 3-2 lead, but Sergei Fedorov’s power-play goal with 1:49 to go forces overtime and the game ends in a 3-3 tie.
Cory Schneider was once again the hard-luck loser in the Devils’ 2-0 loss to the Kings. Schneider stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced but still saw his record drop to 1-5-3 after the Devils were shut out for the fourth time in his nine starts this season.
Schneider’s 1.98 goals against average through his first nine games for New Jersey is the third-best by any Devils goalie who appeared in at least nine games for the team. Only Corey Schwab (1.54 GAA in 24 career games) and John Vanbiesbrouck (1.78 in nine career games) posted better career goals against averages for the Devils.
Schneider’s .918 save percentage trails only Schwab (.929 in 24 games), Vanbiesbrouck (.924 in nine games) and Yann Danis (.923 in 12 games) as the best by any Devils goalie.
Saturday night’s game against the Penguins was Pete DeBoer’s 150th as head coach of the Devils. Only seven coaches have won that many games with New Jersey:
• Jacques Lemaire: 509
• Doug Carpenter: 190
• Larry Robinson: 173
• Pat Burns: 164
• Brent Sutter: 164
• Robbie Ftorek: 156
• Tom McVie: 153
• Pete DeBoer: 150
Plus: Penalty Killing — New Jersey’s penalty killers went 4-for-4 in the win vs. the Penguins and are 25-for-27 (92.6 percent) over their past six games. The Devils have killed off 26 of the 28 (92.9 percent) power plays against them at home, the best percentage in the NHL.
Minus: Non-Support — The Devils have scored just 10 goals in the nine games started by Schneider.
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