EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The NHL's new rules were supposed to make defensive-minded teams like the New Jersey Devils obsolete this season.
The holdovers are having the last laugh.
The Devils, playing the stifling style that carried them to three Stanley Cup championships, blanked the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 on Friday night and earned their fifth straight win.
Martin Brodeur made 26 saves for his second consecutive shutout. Brodeur, who defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0 on Monday, posted his 78th career shutout and third in five games.
"The rules are there and there is a lot more flow to the game," Brodeur said. "If we are able to play this way and not take a lot of penalties, you'll see this more and more from our team. It's not just me. All the guys are excited that we are able to shut down good teams."
Brian Gionta scored twice in the third period and Viktor Kozlov also had a goal as the Devils got all their offense on the power play to end the Canucks' three-game winning streak.
"We're beating good teams now and we're starting to roll," Gionta said. "We're playing the hockey we know how to play. We're getting back to the Devil way."
Kozlov broke the scoreless tie at 2:31 when he took a pass from Sergei Brylin and curled into the left circle to beat Alex Auld with a shot that slipped inside the near post.
"Once they scored on the power play, I don't think we mounted much after that," Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. "We were playing a stingy road game and I thought we'd rise to the challenge of the third period, but that first goal seemed to take all the wind out of our sails."
The Devils' power play clicked again as Gionta scored at 6:38. Scott Gomez, skating behind the Vancouver net, fed the onrushing Gionta a well-timed pass. Gomez has points in eight straight games, with eight goals and nine assists in that span.
Gionta closed out the scoring with his team-leading 25th goal, knocked into an empty net with 1:53 remaining.
The Canucks outshot the Devils 13-11 in the first period. Brodeur made good stops on Henrik Sedin's close-in shot and Mattias Ohlund's power-play slap shot to set the pattern for the rest of the game.
"When you get a chance against that team, you have to score," Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi said. "You're not going to get many. They are very sound defensively."
Chances diminished in the second period as New Jersey outshot Vancouver 7-6.
Notes: Devils LW Patrik Elias missed the game with a cold. Elias was one of New Jersey's best players recently with two goals and eight points in his first four games this season. Elias missed 39 contests while recovering from hepatitis. ... With Alexander Mogilny assigned to Albany of the AHL, the Devils recalled RW Aleksander Suglobov from their minor league affiliate. Mogilny scored the tiebreaking goal in his AHL debut Friday, giving Albany a 2-1 victory over Rochester.
|PPG - Viktor Kozlov (10) ASST: Sergei Brylin (11), Paul Martin (19)|
1 - 0 NJD
|PPG - Brian Gionta (24) ASST: Scott Gomez (25), Brian Rafalski (23)|
2 - 0 NJD
|PPG - EN - Brian Gionta (25) ASST: Zach Parise (9), Brian Rafalski (24)|
3 - 0 NJD
|Power Play %||21.0%||21.0%|
|% on Road||18.2%||27.0%|
|% at Home||24.3%||15.4%|
|Grant Marshall Hooking|
|Scott Gomez Roughing against Jarkko Ruutu|
|Jarkko Ruutu Roughing against Scott Gomez|
|Brendan Morrison Hooking against John Madden|
|Ryan Kesler Holding|
|Steve McCarthy Boarding against Grant Marshall|
|Erik Rasmussen Hi-sticking against Ryan Kesler|
|Henrik Sedin Hooking against Zach Parise|
|Daniel Sedin Holding against John Madden|