Devils hand Predators second straight shutout loss

Dave Lozo, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur is riding a lengthy shutout streak, although he hasn't exactly been overworked in recent games.
The trend continued Sunday night at Prudential Center, as Brodeur had to make just 15 saves for his second consecutive shutout and the 123rd of his career in the Devils' 5-0 trouncing of the Nashville Predators.
Brodeur hasn't allowed a goal in 165 minutes, 31 seconds and has allowed two goals in his past four starts. He has faced an average of 19 shots per game over that span, not that he is complaining about a lack of work.
"This is the way we like it; it was a solid game," Brodeur said. "That's the way we need to play. Not many shots, but you have to give credit to the guys, the penalties we killed, so that's a lot against guys who can really shoot the puck 100 miles per hour in (Predators defenseman Shea) Weber. We have to be happy with the way we've played."
The Devils went 6-for-6 on the penalty kill and scored a season-high five goals as they concluded a stretch of three games in four nights with a 2-0-1 mark. They are 5-3-2 in their past 10 games after opening the season 0-4-3 in their first seven games.
"The last three games, we played pretty well," Devils left wing Jaromir Jagr said. "Good defensively, don't give the other teams much, and now we have to just try to score more goals. We have to be more hungry around the net. I think that's the thing we have to work on. We can improve there."
Jagr's fifth goal of the season 90 seconds into the contest gave the Devils a 1-0 lead. He skated across the slot from right to left and snapped a wrist shot inside the far post to beat Predators goaltender Carter Hutton for his 1,700th career NHL point. Jagr added an assist on center Travis Zajac's third-period goal to move within 22 points of former Pittsburgh Penguins teammate and Hall of Fame center Mario Lemieux.
Jagr left the NHL following the 2008-09 season to play in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia, otherwise he very likely would be higher than eighth all time in NHL points.
"If I would be thinking about numbers, I would never have left to Russia," Jagr said. "I would probably have 1,900 right now when you look at it. Maybe it was a mistake, maybe not. Maybe I wouldn't be playing right now. You never know. It's a big number but to be able to get that number, you have to play with a lot of skill players and that's what I had through my hockey career."
Right wing Cam Janssen, better known for his willingness to fight than his ability to score, scored his second goal in three games at 2:54 of the second period to make it 2-0. In 315 career NHL games, Janssen has five goals and 752 penalty minutes.
Defenseman Marek Zidlicky's power-play goal less than six minutes later extended the lead to 3-0.
The Predators' best chance to get a puck past Brodeur came in the final minute of the second period, as left wing Matt Hendricks was denied from the high slot by Brodeur's catching glove.
"Every player has assets and every team has assets and I don't think we played to those tonight," said Hendricks, who left the game briefly during the third period after his leg was cut by a skate but later returned. "I know for this team to be successful that we have to put pucks behind their defensemen and make things tough on them in tough areas. We didn't seem to do that."
Zajac's goal at 12:57 of the third period extinguished any flicker of hope for a Predators comeback and right wing Mattias Tedenby scored his first goal of the season with 48.3 seconds remaining in the third to cap the scoring in the Predators' second straight 5-0 loss.
"We didn't give up that many shots tonight, but every time I got the puck tonight, it felt like they had two or three guys in great position," Predators forward Eric Nystrom said. "They were really swarming us and that's really hard to play against. Hat's off to them. They played a very structured game."
NOTES: Predators LW Matt Hendricks (upper body) returned to the lineup after missing three games. ... Predators C Mike Fisher (lower body) missed his third consecutive game. ... The Devils were without C Stephen Gionta, who suffered a foot injury Friday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was replaced by C Jacob Josefson, who was a healthy scratch the past three games. ... Devils LW Patrik Elias (back spasms) did not take part in the team's morning skate and missed his fifth straight game.

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