NHL Game Summary - New Jersey at Toronto
(Tuesday, March 4th)
Final Score: New Jersey 4, Toronto 1
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Zach Parise scored twice and Marty Brodeur was stellar with 41 saves, as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-1, at Air Canada Centre.
Brian Gionta and David Clarkson also scored for New Jersey, which halted a three-game winless streak and remained one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Atlantic Division lead. The Penguins blanked the Lightning on Tuesday.
"We worked well offensively," said Brodeur. "Right now, we're not playing great hockey and we need to improve, but we got two points. We want first place, so it was a solid game and a big win."
Nik Antropov scored the only goal for Toronto, which failed to record a point for the first time in its last five games. The Maple Leafs are currently six points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Vesa Toskala allowed four goals on 25 shots in the loss.
New Jersey held a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of action and scored twice within a 1:31 span midway through the third period.
First, at 9:21, Clarkson's one-timer gave the visitors a two-goal edge. The Devils broke into their offensive zone on a 3-on-2 rush and John Madden passed from the lower left side across the slot for Clarkson, whose blazing one-timer from near the inner edge of the right circle flew into the net.
Parise's second tally of the game only 91 seconds later capped the scoring. Patrik Elias held control in the slot and drew a pair of defenders toward him before a slick pass to Parise, who was all alone at the right post for an easy tip-in. Parise now has 27 goals in 2007-08.
Brodeur shut the door the rest of the way -- he totaled 18 saves in the third period -- and the Devils' perennially strong defensive play smothered most of the Toronto scoring chances.
"He's obviously a good goaltender and tonight he showed it," said Toronto's Alexander Steen of Brodeur. "The Devils' defense keeps you on the outside. We started to jam the net, but they are an outstanding defensive team. When you give them a two-goal lead, it's very tough to come back."
The Devils opened the scoring at the 11:22 mark of the first period. Following a dump-in, Toskala went behind his net in an attempt to clear the puck along the right boards. But Jamie Langenbrunner intercepted the puck and sent it toward the net. Parise alertly changed direction after he saw that the puck did not leave the zone and, from a sharp angle beneath the right circle, fired a turnaround slap shot that beat Toskala, who had not fully returned to the crease.
A power-play goal by Gionta 5:11 into the middle session made it 2-0. After a faceoff win inside the left circle, the puck was drawn back to the near point and then fed across to the right side, where a wrister by Johnny Oduya from near the half-wall was saved by Toskala. Gionta punched home the rebound from the top of the crease.
With 3:13 to go in the second period, the Leafs cut their deficit in half. Tomas Kaberle picked up a loose puck behind the net and skated out to the right circle before he fired a wrist shot through traffic. Brodeur made the save, but Antropov fought for position in the goal mouth and he slid home the rebound for his 24th goal.
Toskala started his 19th straight game and is 10-7-2 in those contests...The Maple Leafs fell to 16-13-5 at home this season...New Jersey is 3-0 against the Leafs this season and is now an outstanding 25-2-0 overall when leading after two periods...Brodeur made 14 saves in the first period and nine more in the second. He now has a winning record against every team in the Eastern Conference -- the Maple Leafs had been the only exception...New Jersey scored once on four power-play chances and held the Leafs scoreless on their three opportunities with the extra skater...Attendance was 19,507.
03/04 22:56:53 ET