By John Schweibacher
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The New Jersey Devils are still in the hunt for a playoff spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference thanks to the red-hot Adam Henrique, who has taken over the club lead in goals.
Henrique scored twice for the Devils in their 5-4 win against the Hurricanes Saturday night. Henrique did not score in his last seven games before the NHL’s Olympic break, but he has now scored nine goals in New Jersey’s six games since then, with at least one goal in each game.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first player to score at least nine goals over a six-game span for the Devils since John MacLean tallied nine times over a six-game stretch in December 1988.
Henrique has also matched the record for the longest single-season goal-scoring streak by a Devils player since the club relocated to New Jersey in 1982. Paul Gardner holds the franchise mark with goals in eight straight (scoring a total of 11 goals overall) for the Colorado Rockies from October 19 through November 5 of 1977.
Here’s the list of the seven, six-game goal streaks in team history:
• Adam Henrique: (9g) 2/27/14-present
• Zach Parise: (7g) 11/07/09-11/19/09
• Zach Parise: (7g) 10/18/08-11/01/08
• Bobby Holik: (7g) 12/05/98-12/18/98
• Valeri Zelepukin: (7g) 04/04/93-04/16/93
• Kirk Muller(7g): 12/15/89-12/26/89
• Pat Verbeek: (9g) 10/18/86-10/30/86
The Devils lost the road portion of their home-and-home with the Red Wings, 7-4, Friday night in Detroit. Cory Schneider allowed a career-high seven goals in the loss and fell to 12-13-9 on the season.
The last time a New Jersey Devils goalie had allowed as many as seven goals in one game was 21 years ago, on March 9, 1993. On that night, Craig Billington gave up seven in a 7-2 loss at Vancouver. Geoff Courtnall (2), Sergio Momesso, Petr Nedved, Jyrki Lumme, Cliff Ronning and Dixon Ward had the goals that night for the Canucks.
It was just the sixth time in franchise history that the Devils allowed at least seven goals in a game against the Red Wings and the third time since the club relocated to New Jersey in 1982. In each instance, one KC/COL/NJ goaltender allowed all the Detroit goals:
• 3/7/14: New Jersey 4 at Detroit 7 (Schneider 7)
• 2/9/93: New Jersey 5 at Detroit 8 (Billington 8)
• 1/15/92: Detroit 7 at New Jersey 0 (Billington 7)
• 2/25/79: Colorado 1 at Detroit 8 (Oleschuk 8)
• 1/14/76: Kansas City 3 at Detroit 8 (Herron 8)
• 1/16/75: Kansas City 4 at Detroit 7 (Herron 7)
Jaromir Jagr scored his 20th goal of the season in the second period of the Devils’ loss in Detroit on Friday night, the 18th time in his NHL career that he has scored 20 goals in a season.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jagr’s total of 18 seasons with 20 goals is the highest by any active NHL player and fifth-most in league history, behind only Gordie Howe (22), Ron Francis (20), Dave Andreychuk (19) and Brendan Shanahan (19).
Elias also notes that, at age 42 years and 20 days on Friday, Jagr became the second player in NHL history who was at least 42 years old at the time he scored his 20th goal of a season. Howe was 42 years and 324 days old when he reached the 20-goal plateau for the 22nd and final time in his legendary NHL career on February 18th, 1971.
Stephen Gionta’s goal with 36.6 seconds remaining in the third period broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Devils a 4-3 win over the Red Wings last Tuesday night in Newark. It was the second time this season that New Jersey scored a tiebreaking goal in the final minute of the third period. Andy Greene scored with 45 seconds left in the Devils’ 4-3 victory at Boston on October 26.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, before this season the Devils had not had a go-ahead goal in the last minute of regulation time since 2009-10, when they scored three such goals: two by Jamie Langenbrunner and one by Jay Pandolfo.
Despite all the speculation and rumors, Martin Brodeur was not dealt at last Tuesday’s NHL trading deadline. Brodeur has now played 1,251 regular-season games for the Devils, the most by any goaltender who has spent his entire career with just one team.
Here is the list of most career games played by goaltenders who played for just one NHL team (*-active players’ totals through games of 3/9/14):
• Martin Brodeur: New Jersey, 1,251*
• Mike Richter: NY Rangers, 666
• Turk Broda: Toronto, 629
• Henrik Lundqvist: NY Rangers, 560*
• Marc-Andre Fleury: Pittsburgh, 518*
• Cam Ward: Carolina, 453*
• Ken Dryden: Montreal, 397
• Niklas Backstrom: Minnesota, 390*
• Bill Durnan: Montreal, 393
• Carey Price: Montreal, 358*
The New Jersey Devils did make one deal before the NHL trading deadline, acquiring forward Tuomo Ruutu from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forward Andrei Loktionov and a conditional third-round selection in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
In his 22 career regular-season games against the Devils, Ruutu had nine goals, matching his highest total vs. any opponent (Atlanta/Winnipeg and Florida). Ruutu also had one goal and one assist against New Jersey in their 2009 playoff series vs. Carolina.
With his game-winning goal Saturday night against the Hurricanes, Ruutu became the first player to score goals both for and against the Devils since Alexei Ponikarovsky in 2011-12.
Plus: Adam Henrique — He has nine goals scored since the Olympic break. Henrique, who had 14 goals going into the break, now leads the Devils with 23.
Minus: Michael Ryder — His goalless drought reached a career-worst 19 games this week. Ryder has not scored since January 11 and is stuck on 16 goals scored this season.
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