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Magnificent seven provided second-half boost

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
The Devils' road run came to an end with Monday's setback at the Garden, but the historic streak helped kick the club's second half into overdrive.

Before coming up short against the Rangers, New Jersey's last road loss had been Jan. 10 in Calgary. The defeat dropped their overall record to six games over .500 at 23-17-2.

They rebounded the next night with a 2-1 overtime win in Edmonton and rolled off victories in Winnipeg, Philadelphia, Madison Square Garden, Buffalo and Montreal.

They made it seven straight on the road with a 4-3 overtime triumph in Toronto on Feb. 21. The streak matched Minnesota (Nov. 13-Dec. 10) for longest in the League this season, and tied for third-longest in franchise history (Jan. 13-Feb. 6, 2009).

Beating the Maple Leafs improved the Devils' mark to 15 games over .500 at 35-20-4.

They outscored road opponents 22-11 over that span, limiting them to one goal or less five times. The power play connected seven times in 25 chances (28%), while the penalty kill went a stingy 21 for 24 (87.5%).

Ilya Kovalchuk had five goals and six assists in the seven games, including two shorthanded tallies, a power-play goal and his first hat trick as a Devil (Feb. 14 @ Buf).

Martin Brodeur was superb in yielding just six goals in five starts. He made 30 saves at MSG on Feb. 7 to blank the Rangers, 1-0, and secure his 117th career shutout.

Johan Hedberg had 22 saves against the Oilers, then delivered a 37-save effort in Philadelphia on Feb. 4.

Zach Parise posted three goals and two assists, including the power-play game-winner in Edmonton. Overall, the captain struck twice on the man advantage.

Patrik Elias showcased his playmaking talents during the surge, recording a goal and five assists, and netting the winner in Winnipeg on Jan. 14.

The winning goals reflect the balanced offense that has the Devils in the Eastern Conference playoff mix. Six different players tallied game-winners, led by David Clarkson's pair (Feb. 7 @ NYR, Feb. 19 @ Mtl).

Alexei Ponikarovsky potted the GWG in the Devils' 6-4 rout of the Flyers, and collected two goals and an assist during the streak.

Petr Sykora had five points (2g-3a) in the seven wins, including the winning strike in Buffalo.

Mark Fayne's fourth of the year – tops among Devils' defensemen – lifted them to victory over the Leafs.

The Devils will be looking to start a new winning streak on the road when their four-game trip continues Thursday in Boston. They head to Washington Friday for a meeting with the Capitals, then close out the swing Sunday on Long Island.

They return home to host the Rangers on March 6.

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