By John Schweibacher
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Johan Hedberg recorded his first shutout of the season, a 3-0 win for the Devils over the Islanders. It was Hedberg’s eighth shutout with New Jersey, breaking a tie with Chris Terreri for the second-most in club history.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Hedberg — who is 39 years old — and 40-year-old Martin Brodeur are the first teammates in NHL history to each record a shutout at age 39 or older in the same season.

It’s also the first time that New Jersey has had different goalies post shutouts so few games (eight) into a season. In 1997-98, Mike Dunham and Brodeur each recorded shutouts in the Devils’ first 10 games. On October 18th, in New Jersey’s seventh game of the season, Dunham blanked the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-0, at the Meadowlands. Nine days later, Brodeur shut out the Flyers, 5-0, in Philadelphia in the Devils’ 10th game of the year.

The Devils played four consecutive overtime/shootout games for the first time since 2005-06, when New Jersey also went 1-0-3 in a four-game stretch from December 9 through December 15 of that season.

The last time the Devils played five consecutive times past the end of regulation was in the 1995-96 season. New Jersey had two such overtime stretches that year, going 2-and-0 with three ties from January 27 through February 7 and going 3-and-0 with two ties from March 4 through March 13.

Andy Greene scored his first career shorthanded goal in the Devils’ game against Pittsburgh on Saturday. It was the first shorthanded goal by a New Jersey defenseman since Henrik Tallinder back on October 9, 2010.

Here are the Devils’ all-time leaders in regular-season shorthanded goals by defensemen:

·       Scott Stevens        4

·       Bruce Driver         3

·       Ken Daneyko        3

·       Tommy Albelin     2

·       Alexei Kasatonov  2

·       Randy Velischek   2

·       13 players tied with 1

Mark Fayne did not play for the first time in 119 regular-season games, sitting out New Jersey’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Islanders, ending his streak as the Devils’ ironman. Bryce Salvador and Dainius Zubrus now share the team’s longest active streaks, having played in 89 consecutive games dating back to the start of last season.

Here are the longest consecutive game streaks in club history:

·          Travis Zajac: 401 (October 26, 2006- April 10, 2011

·          Ken Daneyko: 388  (November 4, 1989 -March 29, 1994)

·          Sergei Brylin: 328  (October 8, 2003 – April 6, 2008)

·          Kirk Muller: 321  (April 4, 1987-March 31, 1991)

·          Jay Pandofo: 307  (January 22, 2003-November 28, 2007)

·          Aaron Broten: 288  (March 27, 1986-January 4, 1990)

West Islip’s Matt Anderson made his NHL debut for the Devils last week at Boston and picked up his first career point with an assist on Thursday against the Islanders before being sent back down to Albany. Anderson did become the third oldest Devils player ever to make his NHL debut:

·         Viacheslav Fetisov:  31 years, 5 months, 16 days

·         Sergei Starikov:   30 years, 10 months, 2 days

·         Matt Anderson: 30 years, 2 months, 30 days

·         Alex Brooks: 30 years, 1 month, 26 days

·         Ilka Pikkarainen: 28 years, 5 months, 17 days

This past Sunday’s contest marked the fifth time in club history that the Devils played a game on the same day of a Super Bowl. New Jersey’s 3-0 win at Nassau Coliseum improved the Devils’ record on Super Bowl Sunday to 4-0-1. On January 28, 1990, before the 49ers beat the Broncos, 55-10, in Super Bowl XXIV, the Devils and Islanders played a 4-4 tie at Nassau Coliseum.

Patrik Sundstrom scored twice, including the game-tying goal, while defensemen Tommy Albelin and Alexei Kasatonov also added goals for New Jersey. Bryan Trottier scored twice — career goals number 497 and 498 — and Pat LaFontaine and Jari Gronstrand had the other Isles goals.

On January 25, 1998, the Broncos beat the Packers, 31-24, in Super Bowl XXXII. Earlier that day, the Devils topped the Canadiens, 3-1 in Montreal. Lyle Odelein, Bobby Holik and Brian Rolston scored the New Jersey goals. Brodeur made 19 saves in the win, defeating Andy Moog, who was in net for the Habs.

On February 6th, 2011, the Packers defeated the Steelers, 31-25, in Super Bowl XLV. That afternoon in Montreal, the Devils beat the Canadiens, 4-1. Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice and Brodeur got the win, despite leaving after the first period with a leg injury as Hedberg stopped 14 of 15 shots over the final two periods.

On February 5th of last year, the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI, defeating New England, 21-17. The Devils also won that afternoon, topping the Penguins, 5-2, at Prudential Center. Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists in the victory. Brodeur stopped 28 shots in the win.

Schwei’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: Penalty Kill — After allowing three power-play goals in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Islanders, the Devils went 3-for-3 and 7-for-7 on the penalty kill in their next two games.

Minus: Four Shame — The Devils’ 0-1-3 stretch was the club’s first four-game winless streak since February 24 through March 1 of last season.

Eight games in, how good do you think the Devils really are? Are they definitely a playoff team? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…