The New Jersey Devils started off their 10 day road trip by trouncing the Los Angeles Kings 5-1 last night at the Staples Center.
With the news before the game that the Devils signed Brendan Shanahan, especially for his ability to hopefully help the Devils 20th ranked power-play, the Devils preceded to score three power-play goals in route to the victory. Travis Zajac, Patrick Elias and Brian Rolston all scored power-play goals on the night for the Devils who went a combined 3-for 7 on the power-play. The Devils wasted no time in getting the goals as two of the goals were scored less than 7-seconds into the power-play.
Starting his first game since December 13th, Kevin Weekes played exceptional for a Devils team who were desperate for a victory after playing their worst game of the year in a 4-0 loss to the Thrashers earlier in the week. Weekes stopped 34 of 35 shots and came up big early in the third period. Holding a 3-1 lead early in the third, the Kings pressed to cut into the Devils lead but Weekes came up with several remarkable saves to keep the score at 3-1, until Rolston scored his power-play goal to put the game away at the 6:29 mark of the third period.
This was a Devils team who had not played well since their 4-2 win over the Rangers back on December 27th. With a ten day road trip staring them in the face, this was a team desperate for a victory and needed to play with some desperation in their game.
Several players had been struggling of late including Travis Zajac and the all-star Zach Parise, who had combined for one point in the past three games. Zajac stepped up his play winning two big face-offs that led to two of the power-play goals, scoring a goal and adding two assists on the night. Parise scored a beautiful goal in the second period, which was the 100th of his career, to give the Devils a 3-1 lead and added an assist on Jamie Langebrunner's late third period goal.
Overall you could see the Devils step-up in all areas of their game as they were finishing their checks, forcing the King's defense on the forecheck and the defensemen were clearing the front of the net and jumping into the play last night.
The Devils will need to continue their strong play as they remain behind the Flyers and Rangers in the standing, but have games at hand on each team. Tonight they continue the road trip with a game against the Ducks, before heading to Vancouver to meet the revamped Canucks with Mats Sundin in the line-up.
- Madden was moved up to center Rolston and Clarkson. There are now rumors surrounding the Devils that the Shanahan signing is not the last move Lamoriello will be making as we near the trade deadline. It is being rumored that Madden could be moved as the Devils will look to find a play-making centerman, most likely who could play between Rolston and eventually Shanahan.
- Jamie Langebrunner has started the New Year off well scoring 3 goals in the first five games of the month. Langenbrunner only had 5 goals through the first 36 games of the season.
- Last nights game against the Kings was the 1,000 game of Brian Rolston's career.
- With the signing of Brendan Shanahan, 14 of the Devils 24 players are 30 years of age or older.
- A Devils goalie will be going top the all-star game after all. Jeff Frazee, the Devils 2nd round selection in the 2005 draft, stepped in for Scott Clemmensen at Lowell when Clemmensen was called up after Brodeur's injury. In that time Frazee has gone 10-6-2 with a 2.31 GAA.
- The Lowell Devils have won 6 of their last 8 games out-scoring their opponents 31-16 in those 8 games. Two players that started the year off with the Devils are playing well. Nicholas Bergfors has 8G-12A-20pts. in 23 games and Anssi Salmela has 6G-9A-15pts in 21 games.