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Devils unbeatable in third

Sunday, 09.26.2010 / 3:00 AM / 2010-2011 Season Preview

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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Devils unbeatable in third
New Jersey allowed just 58 third-period goals last season, the fewest of any team in the League. Not coincidentally, New Jersey was 33-1-1 when leading after two periods. The Devils were also in the top six in fewest goals allowed in the other two periods.
New Jersey allowed just 58 third-period goals last season, the fewest of any team in the League. Not coincidentally, New Jersey was 33-1-1 when leading after two periods. The Devils were also in the top six in fewest goals allowed in the other two periods.

Advantage Margin: +34
Year in and year out, there are fewer power plays in Devils games than in any other team's contests -- and the Devils almost always are among the leaders in staying out of the box, as they were (by a substantial margin) again in 2009-10.

Special Teams Goal Margin: +12
New Jersey's special teams were slightly better than average -- 11th on the power play, 13th on the penalty kill. But the Devils' margin on power plays was enough to give them a sizeable advantage on special teams.

Goals by defensemen: 24
The days of Scott Niedermayer and Brian Rafalski are long gone. No Devils defender had more than Andy Greene's 6 goals, and New Jersey's best puck-mover, Paul Martin, is now a Pittsburgh Penguin.   

Overtime Record
Total: 8-2-5
OT: 2-2 SO: 6-5
The Devils' 39 shootout wins are tied with Dallas and Edmonton for the most since the NHL adopted the tie-breaker five years ago. Martin Brodeur's 34 wins (six last season), are the most of any goaltender in shootout history.   

Times Scored First: 45 Record: 33-9-3
Another area in which the Devils generally excel is getting the game's first goal; only six teams had more last season -- and only seven had a better winning percentage than New Jersey's .733 mark, though that was down from .841 in 2008-09.        

Best 09-10 Number: 58
Goals allowed by the Devils in the third period, the fewest of any team in the League. Not coincidentally, New Jersey was 33-1-1 when leading after two periods. The Devils were also in the top six in fewest goals allowed in the other two periods.

Worst 09-10 Number: 9
Losses to Philadelphia in their 11 meetings with the Flyers, including the playoffs. The Devils lost five of six during the regular season and went 1-4 in their first-round playoff loss.

Scheduling
The Devils play all three division winners from the Western Conference (plus the two Southern California teams and the Rangers) during a brutal six-game trip that begins in late October. They have no homestand longer than four games, but do get to finish with five of their last seven at the Prudential Center.
Quote of the Day

He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers