Devils Look to Right the Ship vs. Habs

It’s only been six games, but Devils’ goalie Martin Brodeur isn’t happy about his season so far.

“I won one game and I lost four and a half, so I can’t be happy,” Brodeur said to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. “I think we’re all in the same boat. I think everybody could play better. I had some good moments. I played some good periods and had a shutout. But right now we need more from certain guys and I’m part of it.

“I’m not definitely really happy about the way we started. As a team and personally, I don’t think anybody could tell you that, ‘Oh yeah, that’s been a great six games.’ Nobody would be able to say that. They shouldn’t either.”

Brodeur, like the rest of the team, started slowly this season. The NHL’s all-time leader in wins carries a 3.18 goals-against average and .887 save percentage into tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. Those aren’t the typical Brodeur numbers, and are a far cry from the 2.24 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.

The early season matchup with the Canadiens comes at a perfect time for Brodeur and the Devils, as the team looks to right their struggles against a team they’ve always played well against.

Brodeur, in particular, has played well against his hometown club. In 60 starts against the Habs, Brodeur is 38-16-5 with a 1.78 goals-against average and eight shutouts. When starting in Montreal, Brodeur is 17-12-1 with 1.80 goals-against average, a .935 save percentage and four shutouts.

Brodeur believes the excitement of playing in Montreal will pump up the Devils.

“It’s a great opportunity for us,” Brodeur said. “You can prepare yourself as much as you want, but the excitement usually brings that level of play on everybody. You get to Montreal and even the guys that are not from there are so excited to play there because of what it means, the crowd, everything. So definitely we’re looking forward to it.”

The Devils are off to their worst start since the 1983-84 season, when the team began 1-5-0. New Jersey comes into Montreal on a two-game losing streak, dropping back-to-back home games last weekend. The latest loss came at the hands of the Boston Bruins, who defeated the Devils, 4-1, Saturday night.

After the two losses, the Devils spent three days tinkering with their lineup. Devils coach John MacLean changed the lines, looking for more energy from his players. The team also worked on the power-play, which is only 2-for-17 on the man advantage. MacLean is hoping the changes will kickstart the Devils.

“I thought we had three good practices this week, so the guys will be ready,” the Devils’ coach said. “Hopefully, we refocused. We battled hard. We’ll have to focus in on the Montreal game.”

The Canadiens come into the game riding a two-game win streak. The Habs last played Saturday, defeating the Ottawa Senators, 4-3, at the Bell Centre. Trailing 3-1 in the second period, the Canadiens scored three straight goals (from Jeff Halpren, Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec) to steal the victory.

While it’ll be all business for Brodeur during the game, the Devils’ goalie admitted that he still looks forward to going home.

“It’s always fun,” Brodeur said. “For me, it’s family, it’s coming home, it’s friends. You look up in the stands and I probably know a lot more people in Montreal than I do in New Jersey. It’s always fun to go back home. It’s not just because it’s home for me, but it’s a great hockey atmosphere that you live in.”


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