Thursday, January 22, 2009

Madden's Solid Play Continues As Devils Ride Five Game Winning Streak Into All-Star Break

John Madden's name has had a rough go of it all year as he had had a difficult time trying to figure out what his role is under Coach Sutter. Of late it may have seem as if John Madden has found his way.

Last night John Madden had two assists in the Devils 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadians, which extended his point a game streak to five games. Over the past five games, Madden has 1G-6A-7PTS which is a huge improvement from his 4G-7A-11pts through his first 36 games. Even more important than his points is that Madden is a plus-6 over the past five games and now stands at a minus-3 for the entire season.

Madden has seemed to find his place on the line with Clarkson and Rolston, who both have been playing well of late. The trio has combined for 4G-11A and a plus-14 rating over the past five games and much like the top two lines, Madden has been given time to gain chemistry with his linemates, which has seemed to pay off of late. Now with the addition of Shanahan, the Devils have four lines that have the ability to create scoring chances and control the puck.

If you haven't noticed, Madden has been given the role of being out their at the end of the game. Madden assisted on Parise's empty-net goal against the Predators, after winning a big face-off, and assisted on Elias's empty-net goal to finish off the Canadians last night.

The Devils head into the All-Star break riding a five game winning streak and stand alone in first place with 61 points, one ahead of the Rangers and two ahead of the Flyers. They also stand 11 points ahead of the 9th place Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Devils will look ahead to a much deserved break and what awaits them on the other side of the All-Star Break is the two road games and then they will play seven of eight at "THE ROCK". They will also look forward to the return of Marty Brodeur, who begun skating on his own yesterday.

No timetable has been set for Brodeur's return, but he is said to be ahead of schedule and with no setbacks should return before the trade deadline (March 3rd), sometime in late February.

- In some sad news, former Devils Coach Pat Burns has been diagnosed with lung cancer. This is Burns third bout with cancer and our prayers go out to him.
- Brian Rolston was recognized before last nights game for playing in his 1,000 career game, which occurred at the start of the road trip in LA.
- Jay Pandolfo sat out his second straight game last night, since the return of Shanahan.

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