Brodeur gets another shutout as Devils top Predators
NEWARK, N.J. -- It was milestone night in the Garden State on Sunday when the New Jersey Devils beat the Nashville Predators 5-0 at Prudential Center.
Jaromir Jagr reached 1,701 career points with a goal and one assist, Travis Zajac scored the 100th goal of his career, and Martin Brodeur recorded his 123rd career shutout with 15 saves as the Devils scored five goals for the first time this season. Cam Janssen scored his second goal in three games and Mattias Tedenby connected for the first time this season in New Jersey's win.
"For the last couple of weeks, we've been getting closer and closer to our game," Zajac said. "I think with the way [coach Peter DeBoer] wants us to play, we're going to be aggressive and not give teams time and space. We want to play in the offensive zone with the puck; that's when we're at our best."
The Devils were certainly charged up and ready to go against the Predators, who were shut out for the second straight game. Nashville dropped a 5-0 decision to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.
"We're not playing well defensively and giving up way too many chances," Predators captain Shea Weber said. "We're giving up odd-man rushes and not helping out our goalie. We need to play solid defensively in order to get offense."
Zajac's goal, off tic-tac-toe execution with Jagr and Dainius Zubrus, was his first in eight games and gave the Devils a 4-0 cushion 12:57 into the third.
"In the last three games, we've played our system well," Zajac said. "I think we've been aggressive, we haven't given up much defensively and Marty and [Cory Schneider] have played well in net. We played with confidence and capitalized on our chances tonight."
Tedenby closed out the scoring with 44 seconds remaining when he roofed an attempt at the right post. Brodeur, who earned a 3-0 shutout against the Philadelphia Flyers in his prior on Thursday, has notched consecutive goose eggs for the first time since April 2010.
New Jersey (5-7-5) successfully denied Nashville on six power-play opportunities. The Predators entered the game having notched five goals with the man advantage over the past four games (5-for-11). Brodeur, who has two shutouts this season and in his past two starts, made five saves with his team on the penalty kill.
"We're showing a lot more patience in making decisions with the puck in all three zones," Brodeur said. "This is the way we like it; it's the way we need to play. We didn't allow many shots, but you have to give credit to the guys. We killed [six] power plays, so that's a lot against guys who can really shoot the puck 100 mph."
The victory was the second in five games for the Devils, who face Metropolitan Division rival New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. The Predators (8-7-2), now 2-3-1 in their past six games, will play the sixth of a seven-game road trip against the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
The Devils opened a 3-0 lead with a two-goal second period.
Janssen, recalled from the Devils' American Hockey League affiliate in Albany on Nov. 6, connected 2:54 into the second for a 2-0 lead. Ryan Carter skated to the net down the right wing and forced Nashville goalie Carter Hutton to make a left-pad save, but the 6-foot, 215-pound Janssen knocked in the rebound to the delight of the hometown faithful. The fans actually began chants of "Ca-Am Janssen."
"I blacked out [on the goal], so I really don't know what happened," Janssen said. "I watched the replay of it and give [Carter] the credit on that one."
DeBoer was asked if he's been surprised with Janssen's play since he was recalled from Albany.
"Surprised that he's on pace for 57 goals?" DeBoer asked, tongue in cheek. "It's great for him. He's been a great shot of energy for our group, and it couldn't happen to a better guy. He's still doing his thing and finishing hits and going to the net."
Marek Zidlicky, who assisted on Janssen's goal, scored his second of the season on a power-play goal at 8:37 of the second to give the Devils a 3-0 lead. Nashville rookie defenseman Seth Jones was whistled for hooking Steve Bernier just five seconds earlier to set up the Devils' man advantage. Adam Henrique won the ensuing face off back to Eric Gelinas, who fed to Zidlicky at the top of the right circle with Bernier creating a screen.
Brodeur's best save of the period came with 55.6 seconds remaining when he denied Matt Hendricks with his glove off a slap shot from between the circles.
"I think our group has helped our goalies last half-dozen games," DeBoer said. "With the way we're playing defensively and the way he handles puck and is making those big saves at key times, it has been good."
Jagr gave the Devils a 1-0 lead when he scored his fifth goal of the season off a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that beat Hutton through a screen to the long side.
Jagr picked up the puck along the right-wing half boards after getting a feed from Peter Harrold and skated across the crease to score and notch his 1,700th career point. His assist on Zajac's goal in the third boosted his career totals to 686 goals and 1,015 assists.
"If I would be thinking about numbers, I would never have left to Russia," Jagr said. "I would probably be 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."
Jagr, 41, the top-scoring Czech-born player in NHL history, is the eighth player in League history to score at least 1,700 points. His former teammate on the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mario Lemieux, ranks seventh on the all-time list with 1,723 points.
"With [Patrik] Elias out of the lineup and some of the people who left here, we had a hole for somebody like [Jagr], and he's come in and filled that," DeBoer said. "He made some other stops in Dallas, Philadelphia and Boston, where they all had two or three guys. We needed a guy to fill that prominent spot as a go-to guy offensively, and he's come in and done that."