A big night for Martin Brodeur Tuesday as he posted his 120th career, slamming the door on the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-0. The New Jersey win improved its mark on the season to 2-0, while the Flyers fell to 0-3. The shutout was Broderu's 10th against the Flyers.
Brodeur made 24 saves in the game and was very sharp in the first period when the Flyers had nine shots and several excellent scoring changes. But Brodeur was up to the task and the Devils scored twice in the opening period on just three shots to really turn the tables on the offensively challenged Flyers.
The Devils hadn't hosted a game since Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Los Angeles Kings and Brodeur seemed concerned that the fan support might have dissipated after the owner's lockout that erased whatever momentum the Devils appeared to have heading into the season.
"It was a long time coming," Brodeur said. "I thought we had a great run in the playoffs, and our fans were great. With the lockout, we didn't know how these fans would respond. They showed tremendous support."
The game at Prudential Center was a sellout (17,625).
Travis Zajac and David Clarkson scored the crucial first-period goals and Ilya Kovalchuk added an insurance goal in the second period on a shorthanded penalty shot.
Zajac's second goal of the season came at 1:07 of the first period, to put the Flyers into catch-up mode very early. Clarkson's goal came with just 24.9 seconds left in the period, so the Flyers committed the cardinal sins of allowing both an early and late goal in a period.
Allowing a shorthanded breakaway doesn't help the cause, either.
Kovalchuk was hooked by defenseman Kimmo Timonen on a partial breakaway at 2:44 of the second and was awarded a penalty shot.Kovalchuk raced in on Philadelphia goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and backhanded the puck high for the goal.
"It's a 50-50 chance and I was fortunate to score," Kovalchuk said. "He's a big goalie and I knew he would go down if I faked him. I beat him this time, but it's a long season."
But the Devils already have taken all four possible points, so New Jersey already has taken advantage of what is actually a much shorter schedule than usual.
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