EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—Here’s something for the rest of the NHL to worry about. The New Jersey Devils are scoring goals in bunches and still playing great defense.
“It’s one of those things where we’re trying to do the right things every shift,” goal-scorer Brian Gionta said after the Devils won for the eighth time in the streak. “We’ve been bringing the puck to the net and have been fortunate to get some bounces and score some goals. It was just a matter of time until we got some bounces.”
“When you’re on a streak like this, coaches get nervous,” Devils coach Pat Burns said. “Every game is scary to me. Every game during this time is scary. I want to win every single game. I’m selfish.”
With his 375th victory, Brodeur passed former teammate John Vanbiesbrouck and moved into 10th place on the NHL career list.
The unbeaten streak is the longest for the Devils since they won a team-record 13 straight in the 2000-01 season.
“They executed the little things in the game well,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “They don’t turn over a lot of pucks. They don’t give up any odd-numbered situations. They’ve got a goaltender that’s playing extremely well. We knew it was going to be tough. We really helped them out with it.”
Stevens, two games away from tying Larry Murphy for the NHL record for most games by a defenseman (1,615), assisted on the goals by Gomez and Pandolfo, both of which were reviewed.
Gomez gave New Jersey the lead by deflecting Stevens’ point shot past Martin Biron at 9:40 of the first period. Gomez appeared to have his stick over his shoulder, but the review didn’t take away the goal.
Ruff felt Gomez’s stick was too high, but Gomez insisted the goal was legal.
Stevens banked a pass off the sideboards into his own end to set up a short-handed two-on-one. Biron made an outstanding sliding pad save to stop Pandolfo’s shot, but his momentum carried him and the puck into the net for a goal at 5:11 of the second period.
Gionta pushed the lead to three goals less than two minutes later, swatting his own rebound past Biron with the Devils on another two-on-one break. A frustrated Biron slammed his stick to the ice and broke it seconds later.
The Sabres didn’t pick up on their goaltender’s displeasure because a little more than two minutes later they allowed a two-on-none break. Madden capped itby putting Christian Berglund’s pass into an open net.
The game drew 10,008, which is less than the 11,146 the teams drew for a neutral site game at Rochester, N.Y. last week. … Biron was lifted after Madden’s goal and replaced by Mika Noronen. … Stevens tied Devils assistant coach John MacLean for second place on the club’s career games played list at 934. Ken Daneyko holds the team record 1,283. … The Sabres have lost two in a row. … The Devils recalled G Scott Clemmensen from Albany on an emergencybasis because Corey Schwab has a groin injury.