Work in Sports
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- An old formula helped the New Jersey Devils break their longest losing streak since the Jacques Lemaire era.
Martin Brodeur recorded his 40th career shutout and three different players scored and as the Devils halted their four-game losing streak and five-game winless slide with a 3-0 victory over the suddenly punchless Montreal Candiens.
"I was able to get the shutout because I'm on a great team with great players. That's how the goalies get their shutouts," said Brodeur, a Montreal native. "I looked at the stat sheet and I just wanted it over with. I play well for my friends back home in Montreal."
Montreal had a season-high seven-game winning streak stopped in a 3-0 loss to Washington and goaltender Olaf Kolzig on Saturday.
Brodeur made 30 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and Petr Sykora, Claude Lemieux and Bobby Holik tallied as New Jersey ended its longest losing streak since November 18-27, 1995, when it had a six-game winless drought.
That was the season after the Devils won the Stanley Cup under the defense-minded Lemaire and also marked the only time in the 1990s they missed the playoffs.
"Anytime a team is in a slump, you need guys to come through," veteran Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko said. "Marty has done it time and time again for this club."
New Jersey also gained a measure of revenge after Thursday's controversial 3-2 overtime loss at Montreal, where Benoit Brunet batted in the winning goal with an apparent high stick.
Brodeur also beat Montreal counterpart Jeff Hackett for the first time in seven head-to-head meetings. Hackett was busy, making 45 saves, but fell to 3-1-3 against Brodeur.
"We played pretty tough tonight," said Brodeur, who leads the NHL with 35 wins. "We were not nervous to throw our weight around."
"Well, I thought Hackett was outstanding," Canadiens coach Alain Vigneault said. "However, our defense was, to say the least, suspect all night long. Their execution was outstanding. Anytime you meet a team that has not won in five games, they're going to be hungry. New Jersey was hungry."
New Jersey is 12-3-5 in the last 20 meetings with the Canadiens and is unbeaten in its last 12 (9-0-3) against Montreal at the Continental Airlines Arena since the 1993-94 season.
The Devils, tied at 86 with St. Louis for the league's best point total, embark on a seven-game road trip and do not play at home again until March 15 against Dallas.
"This is a great time for us to go on the road," Daneyko said. "We've got some team unity, some camaraderie, going into the trip."
"It should be a big road trip," Brodeur added. "It'll give us some time to be together as a team and to go through some tough stuff together."
Sykora got a little help on his power-play goal at 5:28 of the second period. He was behind the end line to the left of Hackett when his centering pass hit the left skate of former Devils defenseman Eric Weinrich and went through the goaltender's pads.
"I think before I scored the goal we created some scoring chances, we just couldn't put the puck in the net," Sykora said. "And when we were winning we kept playing like it was 0-0."
Lemieux broke a 10-game goalless drought 2:28 later when he skated through light traffic in the right faceoff circle and smoked a wrist shot from close range over Hackett's glove.
NHL rookie scoring leader Scott Gomez set up both goals.
"I think we were just confident," said Gomez, who has 16 goals and 41 assists in 63 games. "We got back to the basics. We were kind of cheating ourselves those last few games, and we thought it was important to get a win before this long road trip.
"I just got it to the right people and they put it in, and we got those bounces tonight. You can just feel the confidence coming back into us."
Holik beat Hackett through the pads with a wrist shot from just to the right of the slot after getting behind the defense at 4:39 of the third period to make it 3-0. Daneyko made the pass for just his fifth assist in 61 games.