Another milestone was reached by Martin Brodeur on this night, he achieved his 600th victory and at the same time getting his 110th shutout in the process. Brodeur also extended his shutout streak to two games as the Devils beat the Thrashers 3-0. This victory eliminated Atlanta from the playoff picture entirely, leaving only the Rangers in the hunt to get in from the East (who lost to the Sabres tonight). In his second straight shutout, Brodeur made some brilliant saves on this night to keep the Devils in command through out the night. He had 19 saves while his counter part, Johan Hedberg had 24 saves on New Jersey’s 27 shots.
The Devils did what they needed to tonight, they remained focused from start to finish and never let up. The Thrashers didn’t come with as much intensity as I had thought they would have tonight, however, the Devils did play a solid game I have to say that. The goals came from Dean McAmmond, Zach Parise and Travis Zajac (one in each period). The McAmmond goal came off of a beautiful, precise pass by Zubrus, and McAmmond snuck it in low as Hedberg was going from side to side.
Zach’s goal came just 51 seconds into the second period after a point shot from Paul Martin was deflected in by the Devil’s season MVP. In similar fashion, the Devil’s scored just 10 seconds into the third period when Travis Zajac got his first goal since the Columbus game, he entered the zone uncontested and buried one past Hedberg. A three goal lead for a team that has been playing very stingy defense as of late was plenty for the Devils to get the win tonight.
This game marks the second consecutive shutout for Jersey, both on the road where they have been struggling lately. These are promising signs heading into the playoffs. Granted these wins came against teams they should beat, but that hasn’t always meant the Devils were coming away with two points. Tonight, however, the Devils earned this victory and congratulations to Martin Brodeur on yet another, remarkable accomplishment, his 600th career victory.
Next up is the Panthers, the Devils final road game of the regular season, on Thursday at 7:30 EST. The Devils put some room between themselves and the Penguins tonight after they lost to the Capitals 6-3. The Devils can clinch the Atlantic Division Thursday night with a win over the Panthers and a Penguin loss (they play the Islanders). The Sabres are right behind Jersey with 98 points and also play Thursday night (@ the Bruins), so the positioning between the 2nd spot and the 3rd spot is still up in the air. As of right now the Devils are slated to play the Flyers, who won today to climb up to 7th in the East. The Sabres are currently in position to play the Canadiens. I’m not sure who I would rather play because the Flyers seem to have some issues lately, but they are a division rival. The Canadiens always play us closely,but Brodeur always seems to play his best against them. Hard to say indeed, all I can say right now is GO DEVILS!