By John Schweibacher
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With six games remaining in the regular season, the New Jersey Devils are six points away from clinching a spot in the postseason. And while one of their veteran goaltenders has been red-hot, the other has cooled off.
Since his 1-0 shootout win against Colorado two weeks ago, Martin Brodeur has gone 0-3-1 and allowed 16 goals, while Johan Hedberg, in his last four starts dating back to February 9th, has gone 3-0-1 while allowing just four.
Hedberg recorded his fourth shutout of the season with a 34-save, 1-0 win at Ottawa last week.
Hedberg is the first goaltender in Scouts/Rockies/Devils franchise history other than Martin Brodeur record four shutouts in one season. Brodeur has done that 15 times.
Hedberg now has seven shutouts as a New Jersey Devil, tying him with Chris Terreri for the second-most in club history:
· Martin Brodeur 118
· Chris Terreri 7
· Johan Hedberg 7
· Sean Burke 4
· Craig Billington 4
· Scott Clemmensen 4
· Corey Schwab 2
· Mike Dunham 2
Hedberg also had to stop a penalty shot by Eric Condra in the first period of last Tuesday’s win in Ottawa. It was the second time this season that he faced a penalty shot in a 1-0 shutout win; Hedberg also did it against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum back on November 25th.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, not only is Hedberg the first NHL goaltender with two 1-0 shutout wins in which he also faced a penalty shot in one season, he is the first NHL netminder with two such wins in his career.
Hedberg has now faced four penalty shots as a New Jersey Devils, one fewer than Chris Terreri for the second most in club history:
Penalty shots faced, saves/goals
· Martin Brodeur
· Chris Terreri
· Johan Hedberg
· Alain Chevrier
· Glenn Resch
The Maple Leafs scored on all three of their shootout attempts against Martin Brodeur in the Devils’ 4-3 shootout loss last Friday night at Prudential Center. Brodeur came into the game having allowed only three goals on 18 shots in his seven previous shootouts this season.
Brodeur has participated in 62 shootouts during the seven seasons that the NHL has used the tiebreaker. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Friday’s game marked only the fourth time that Brodeur allowed three or more goals in one shootout and it was the first time that a team scored on its first three attempts against him.
Here are the four shootouts in which Brodeur has given up three goals:
· 1/2/07 3-2 loss vs. NY Rangers.
Allowed 4 goals in 8-round shootout (Nylander, Shanahan, Cullen, Hossa).
· 3/2/07 4-3 loss vs. Toronto
Allowed 3 goals in 5-round shootout (Perreault, Steen, O’Neill).
· 2/15/08 4-3 loss vs. Atlanta
Allowed 3 goals in 10-round shootout (Kovlachuk, Hossa, Dupuis).
· 3/23/12 4-3 loss to Toronto
Allowed 3 goals in 3-round shootout (Bozak, Connolly, Kadri).
Ilya Kovalchuk’s 400th career goal was the game-winner in the Devils’ 1-0 win at Ottawa. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kovalchuk is only the second player in NHL history to score a century milestone goal numbered 400 or higher in a 1-0 game. The first was Luc Robitaille, whose 600th career goal came in the Red Wings’ 1-0 victory at Anaheim on November 9th, 2001.
Last Monday night’s Devils/Rangers match-up at Madison Square Garden was the sixth and final regular season meeting between the two clubs.
For the fourth time in those meetings, there was at least one fight in the first three minutes and three seonds of the game. In all, the Devils and Rangers had eight fights in those four games which took place within 3:03 of the opening face-off, including the three bouts three seconds into last Monday night’s match.
According to Hockeyfights.com, The last time there were this many fights so early in a game was February 3rd, 2011 when the Dallas Stars visited the Boston Bruins. There were three fights off of three separate faceoffs in the first four seconds of that game.
The last time there were a trio of fights just after the game’s opening face-off like the Devils and Rangers had last week was back on March 22nd, 1996 when the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres came to blows with only one second being taken off the clock. Future-Devil Lyle Odelein took part in one of the altercations, going against Buffalo’s Scott Pearson.
Here is their tally of most fights by NHL teams so far in 2011-12 (through the games of 3/24):
New York Rangers 62
Boston Bruins 58
Philadelphia Flyers 53
Columbus Blue Jackets 52
Ottawa Senators 52
Anaheim Ducks 40
Minnesota Wild 39
New Jersey Devils 38
Chicago Blackhawks 38
St. Louis Blues 38
The Devils host the Blackhawks and Lightning this week before heading down south to face the Carolina Hurricanes.
New Jersey and Chicago have not met since early last season, a 5-3 Devils win over the Blackhawks in Chicago. That Devils win ended a string of three straight Blackhawks wins over New Jersey, which had followed a 10-0-2 Devils’ run in their previous 12 meetings.
The Devils and Lightning conclude their season series Thursday night in Newark. New Jersey took the first two meetings in Tampa, 4-2 on November 19th and 5-4 on December 12th. The Lightning won the lone meeting to date at The Rock, 4-3, back on February 26th.
Martin St. Louis had the hat trick in that game, becoming just the second Tampa Bay player to score three goals in a game against New Jersey. On January 15th 2002, one-time Devil Cdeno Ciger had the hat trick, including the game-winner, in a 5-4 Tampa Bay overtime victory over the Devils at the Meadowlands.
The Devils and Hurricanes wrap-up their season series as well, Saturday night in Raleigh. The two teams have not met since the day after Christmas, a 4-2 ‘Canes victory in Carolina. New Jersey took the first two meetings at Prudential Center, 4-2 on October 10th and 3-2 on November 8th.
Plus: Adam Henrique and Jacob Josefson. Devils centers end 17 and 35 game scoring droughts with goals in shootout loss to Toronto.
Minus: David Clarkson. No goals in his last eight games after scoring 12 times in his previous 20.
What’s wrong with Marty? Sound off below…