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2008-09 in review: October's hot start

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils – Entering their second year in Newark, the Devils began a season at Prudential Center for the first time in their history.

Jersey's Team was buoyed by a 5-1-0 start and finished 5-2-2 in October en route to 12 of a possible 18 points.

It started with a 2-1 home-opening victory over the New York Islanders on Oct. 10.

Martin Brodeur made his 14th straight season-opening start, eclipsing Tony Esposito’s NHL record of consecutive openers with the same club. Brodeur registered 25 saves, and denied Kyle Okposo’s first-period penalty shot.

The Isles took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period, but Zach Parise answered 3:01 later on a Devils power play [ 700K]. Brodeur thwarted Okposo's breakaway try at 16:02 [ 700K], then got a glove up on Okposo's penalty shot attempt [ 700K] to keep it 1-1.

Patrik Elias scored the go-ahead goal 29 seconds into the second, when he redirected Brian Gionta's centering feed past Joey MacDonald for his 61st career game-winner [ 700K ]. The Devils improved to 17-5-4 in season openers, and 16-6-4 in home-openers. 

New Jersey made it two in a row just 24 hours later, opening a four-game road swing with a 2-1 overtime triumph at Pittsburgh on Oct. 11.

Elias and Parise both collected goals for the second straight game. With the Devils trailing 1-0, Elias tied it with 2:29 remaining in regulation [ 700K].

Parise then won it with 38 seconds left in the extra session, after Travis Zajac lifted a cross-ice Hail Mary pass from his own zone. Parise caught up to the bouncing puck, and ripped it over Marc-Andre Fleury for his third career OT goal [ 700K].

It marked just the third time in club history that the Devils won a 2-1 overtime decision after trailing 1-0 with less than five minutes to go in regulation. New Jersey improved to 11-12-3 in road-opening contests. Brodeur posted 14 saves in his 43rd straight regular-season start in goal.

Playing their third game in four nights, the Devils suffered their first loss of the season in a 4-1 setback to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 13.

John Madden, who had a team-high four shots on goal, potted the Devils' only goal [ 700K]. Parise picked up an assist to extend his point streak to three games with a club-best three points (2g-1a-3pts).

The Devils rebounded three days later in a 1-0 triumph at Atlanta on Oct. 16. Brodeur needed  25 saves to record his first shutout of the season and 97th of his career. The four-time Vezina Trophy winner was tested early by Eric Perrin [ 700K] and Slava Kozlov [ 700K], then protected the perfect outing with a late stop on Colby Armstrong [ 700K].

Brian Rolston's power play goal [ 700K] with 1:03 left in the second period held up as the game-winner. Later, Rolston left the game with an ankle injury that would keep him on the shelf for the next 18 games.

New Jersey wrapped up a 3-1-0 road trip courtesy of a 4-3 shootout win at Washington on Oct. 18. In one of many Devils milestone moments in 2008-09, Elias had two assists to pass Scott Niedermayer for sole possession of first place on the club's all-time list (366).

Jersey's Team trailed 1-0 and 2-1 in the contest and rallied both times. Petr Vrana made his NHL debut and became the 13th player in team history to score a goal in his first game.

Vrana knotted the contest at 1 [ 700K], before Washington's Mike Green countered on the power play to restore the Capitals' lead. Parise tied it at 2, converting on a man-advantage opportunity midway through the third [ 700K].

Andy Greene put the Devils ahead 1:08 later [ 700K ], only to see Alexander Semin tie the contest for the third time with his second goal of the night. Parise clinched it with the determining goal in the shootout [ 700K], while Brodeur stopped all three Washington attempts.

Brodeur's 24 saves in the game included a first-period denial of Alex Ovechkin [ 700K ], and a stop on Brooks Laich in overtime [ 700K].

Back at Prudential Center for the first time since opening night, the Devils pounded Dallas, 5-0, on Oct. 22. Brodeur made 21 stops  for his second shutout in three games and 98th of his career. Among the highlights were saves on Sean Avery [ 700K] and Mike Ribeiro [ 700K].

Captain Jamie Langenbrunner's marker 1:59 into the contest was all the offense the Devils needed. John Madden added two goals [ 700K / 700K] in a span of 1:12 to blow it open in the second period and chase Marty Turco from the Dallas net.

Parise tallied for a second straight game midway through the third [ 700K], and David Clarkson rounded out the scoring 53 seconds later with a blast from the high slot [ 700K]. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond made his NHL debut, collecting his first career point with an assist on Clarkson's goal.

After taking five of their first six, the Devils stumbled to a three-game winless streak to finish the month.

They suffered a 6-3 loss in their first meeting of the season with Philadelphia on Oct. 24. Zajac [ 700K] and Dainius Zubrus [PP, 700K]scored for New Jersey, while Parise had a goal [ 700K] and two assists to extend his points streak to three games (3g-4a).

The five-goal first period ended with the Devils leading 3-2, but Philadelphia scored four times in the final 40 minutes.

The Devils dropped the second half of their Friday-Saturday home-and-home set with the Flyers in a 3-2 overtime defeat at Wachovia Center on Oct. 25.

Parise scored [ 700K] in a fourth straight game (4g-4a) to tie the score 27 seconds into the second. With the Devils trailing 2-1 late in the frame, Gionta's power play tally [ 700K] knotted the contest at 2, and extended his point streak to three games (1g-2a).

New Jersey came up short in their first meeting of the season with Toronto on Oct. 29, when they were edged 6-5 in a shootout at Prudential Center.

A wild game that featured four lead changes opened with Clarkson [ 700K] and Zubrus [ 700K] scoring for a 2-0 lead in the first 7:04 of action. After three straight Toronto goals, Langenbrunner [ 700K] and Colin White [ 700K] responded to hoist the Devils back on top.

The Maple Leafs went ahead on two straight goals, but Parise's fifth strike [ 700K] in as many games tied the tilt at 5 with 8:43 to go in regulation. Toronto's Niklas Hagman had the deciding shootout goal.

Devils prospect Matt Halischuk made his NHL debut and registered an assist in the game for his first career point.

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