It was a great afternoon for the Devils. In particular, All-Star netminder Marty Brodeur, whose 37 saves were the difference in a 2-1 overtime triumph over the Caps at Verizon Center.
With his team outshot 28-10 and outchanced by plenty through 40 minutes, the three-time Vezina and Cup winner stood on his head robbing Alexander Ovechkin and other Capitals including Alexander Semin and rookie Nicklas Backstrom point blank to keep the game scoreless.
The Devils finally came with a better effort in the third and were rewarded with the game's first goal when team captain Jamie Langenbrunner converted on a 5-on-3 power play just 39 seconds in for his 11th. Paul Martin and Patrik Elias notched assists.
However, the Caps finally found a way to beat Brodeur when Semin took an Ovechkin feed and went to the backhand for his 19th just 1:53 later to tie it.
If the Capitals were the superior team in the first two stanzas, then the same couldn't be said for the final 20 of regulation as the Devils got plenty of shots (18-10) and chances on Washington backup Brent Johnson. The former Blue was up to the task much like his counterpart earning his team a valuable point to get within five of the first place Hurricanes.
In OT, it would be mostly Washington as Ovechkin tried to stickhandle through every Devil. He also setup one quality opportunity for top defenseman Mike Green but a terrific pokecheck by Brodeur thwarted his backhand deke attempt keeping the extra session going.
Remarkably despite the Caps dictating the play, they got no total shots on Marty in the OT while the Devs finished with three including the winner.
Off a two-on-three, John Madden wouldn't give up the puck forcing a sharp angle shot on Johnson which rebounded out to Elias. The crafty left wing patiently waited before firing a shot off the post. A hustling Madden then slipped Shaone Morrisonn's check and backhanded one thru Johnson's five-hole for the winner sending FSNY basketcase announcer Mike Emrick into a screech of epic proportions.
Doc's a great play-by-play man but he sounded like an annoying child there. It was a great win for the Devils nonetheless and allowed them to grab the conference's top spot by a point over the idle Sens. According to the FSNY production truck team of Roland Dratch and Larry Gaines, it's the first time they've led the East at this point in seven years.
I'm not really sure what the significance is. Their team always wins the division and usually finishes at or near the top of the conference.
As a former researcher though, production teams love those kind of stats. So, it stands to reason why they used it.
Meanwhile, the Pens and Sharks needed a shootout to decide the winner. In it, all three San Jose shooters easily beat frustrated Pittsburgh netminder Ty Conklin. The best part had to be when Jarkko Ruutu slowly walked in before somehow going to the right hand to put the puck upstairs on Nabokov. For a guy who gets underneath the skin of opponents, he has some skill to go with it as I've never seen him miss in a shootout. No wonder Michel Therrien selected him over NHL leading scorer Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora.
It was all for naught as veteran pivot Jeremy Roenick made it three-for-three in the skills competition by easily picking the five-hole on Conklin to give the Sharks their second consecutive win of what's been a very tough Eastern road trip.
For the Devs, it meant they now lead the Pens by two points with each team having 19 games to go.
If the video of Brodeur's big game comes out, we'll be sure to put it up.
The Rangers aim for their second straight win as they host the Panthers now. Lenny did a quick preview. To any normal puck fan who read my drunken post last night, I apologize.
To the loser who posted under Anonymous because they have something stuck up their ass and have never made a mistake in their pathetic life, go to Hell! Anyone who can't put their name behind something is spineless and obviously doesn't have a lot going for them.
Enjoy the games people! See ya later.