By John Schweibacher
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After trading one of their longest-tenured players last week, the New Jersey Devils split their two games against a pair of Western Conference opponents.
On Saturday night, the Devils lost to the Coyotes, 5-0, in Arizona, as ex-Devil Scott Wedgewood earned the second shutout of his NHL career, and his first for the Coyotes.
Wedgewood, who recorded his first NHL shutout for New Jersey (3-0 at Pittsburgh on March 24th, 2016) and was traded to Arizona on Oct. 28, became just the second former Devils goaltender to record a shutout against them since the franchise moved to New Jersey in 1982.
Kirk McLean was the first ex-Devil goalie to do so in a 4-0 win for the Canucks on Oct. 19, 1988, at the Meadowlands.
McLean, who was drafted by the Devils in 1984, went 2-2 in six games for New Jersey in 1985-86 and 1986-87 before being traded to Vancouver in the deal that brought Patrik Sundstrom to the Devils just prior to the 1987-88 season.
The only other time New Jersey was shut out by the Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes franchise was on Nov. 16, 1991, when Bob Essensa made 40 saves in a 1-0 Jets win over the Devils at the Meadowlands.
On Friday night, the Devils beat the Avalanche, 2-1, in Denver.
Jesper Bratt scored New Jersey’s first goal and assisted on the game-winning goal by Brian Boyle.
It was Bratt’s fourth multiple-point game this season, tying fellow rookies Nico Hischier and Will Butcher for second most on the team, behind Taylor Hall with seven multi-point games.
The Elias Sports Bureau notes that the Devils are the only NHL team with three different rookies who have produced at least four multiple-point games this season.
According to Hockey-Reference.com, since the 1987-88 season, 11 players have had more than four multiple-point games in their rookie NHL season for New Jersey:
• Scott Gomez (1999-2000), 17
• Viacheslav Fetisov (1989-90), 10
• Petr Sykora (1995-96), 9
• Zdeno Ciger (1990-91), 7
• Travis Zajac (2006-07), 7
• Valeri Zelepukin (1991-92), 7
• Sergei Brylin (1994-95), 5
• Paul Martin (2003-04), 5
• Jaroslav Modry (1993-94), 5
• Damon Severson (2014-15), 5
• Mattias Tedenby (2010-11), 5
The win was just the second for New Jersey in their last 11 regular season trips to Colorado (2-6-3).
Prior to Friday night, the Devils’ last victory at the Pepsi Center was on March 15, 2008 — a 4-2 win.
Last Thursday, New Jersey acquired defenseman Sami Vatanen and a conditional third-round selection in the 2019 or 2020 draft from Anaheim in exchange for Adam Henrique, Joseph Blandisi and New Jersey’s third-round pick in the 2018.
Henrique, who made his NHL debut with New Jersey on April 20, 2011, had the third-longest tenure on the Devils at the time of the trade and was one of just three players remaining from the Eastern Conference championship team in 2011-12.
Here are the players who now have the longest stints with the Devils (based on their first games with the club):
• Travis Zajac, Oct. 6, 2006
• Andy Greene, Jan. 12, 2007
• Keith Kinkaid, March 5, 2013
• Cory Schneider, Oct. 3, 2013
• Damon Severson, Oct. 9, 2014
The five Devils listed above are also the only ones to have appeared in a game for New Jersey prior to Ray Shero becoming general manager on May 4, 2015. Miles Wood, Blake Coleman and Steven Santini are the only other players currently on the Devils’ NHL roster who were drafted before Shero succeeded Lou Lamoriello 2½ years ago.
The trade was the second one made between the Devils and Ducks since Shero became the club’s GM. New Jersey obtained Kyle Palmieri from Anaheim for a pair of draft picks on June 27, 2015.
Henrique was selected by New Jersey in the third round (82nd overall) of the 2008 draft. Only four players taken in that draft currently have scored more career goals than the now-former Devil:
• Steven Stamkos (1st overall by TB), 332
• Jordan Eberle (22nd overall by Edm), 175
• Derek Stepan (51st overall by NYR), 133
• Cam Atkinson (157th overall by CBJ), 127
• Adam Henrique (82nd overall by NJD), 123
Henrique’s signature moment for the Devils was his series-clinching overtime goal against the Rangers in Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference finals.
Henrique, who also scored the series-clinching overtime goal in Game 7 of the conference quarterfinals against Florida that same year, is the only player other than Stephane Richer in 1994 to score two OT goals for New Jersey in the same postseason.
Plus: Close Ones. New Jersey is 10-1-4 in games decided by a single goal.
Minus: Not A Close One. The Devils’ 5-0 loss to Arizona was their first by more than three goals this season.