For all the talk of more offense in the new-look NHL, goaltender Martin Brodeur looked like his old self.
The veteran netminder looks for his second win in as many starts Friday when the New Jersey Devils play the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Devils may be a team in transition defensively following the departure of veterans Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer, but Brodeur proved equal to the task of carrying the team. He made 17 first-period saves and helped the Devils kill off four first-period penalties in Wednesday's 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh for his 404th career victory.
Brodeur, who finished with 36 stops, moved into sole possession of seventh on the all-time wins list and is three behind Glenn Hall for sixth.
They had tons of chances. Marty made some stops that I don''t even know how he made them, and that's why he's the best,
Devils coach Larry Robinson said.
Rookie Zach Parise, the 17th overall pick in the 2003 draft, upstaged highly touted Sidney Crosby, the first overall pick of this year's draft, by getting a goal and an assist. Brian Gionta and Sergei Brylin each had two goals for New Jersey, which will be without its top scorer - Patrik Elias - for at least the first month of the season while he recovers from hepatitis.
You want to get the first one out of the way,
Parise said about his goal.
It's awesome. It was kind of a blur, but it's also a weight off your shoulders.
The Flyers opened a season of high expectations with a disappointing 5-3 home loss Wednesday to the New York Rangers. Peter Forsberg had two first-period assists in his debut but helplessly watched from the penalty box as Jaromir Jagr
scored the go-ahead goal with 8:34 to play.
The Flyers allowed three goals in a 5:31 span of the third period en route to squandering a 3-1 lead.
They outplayed us heavily in the third period,
said Forsberg, who finished with only one shot on goal and a plus-1 player rating.
The Flyers struggled on special teams. They converted just one of 10 power-play chances and failed on two-man advantages of 42 and 60 seconds, respectively, in a 4:18 stretch of the second period. Philadelphia also yielded two power-play goals to New York, highlighting the absence of Derian Hatcher.
The rugged defenseman will miss this game, serving the second of his three-game suspension from the 2004 playoffs.
We just have to learn to play from the net out defensively instead of worrying so much about offense,
said Flyers goalkeeper Robert Esche, who stopped just 22 of 27 shots.
Esche won his last two starts against the Devils in the 2003-04 season, stopping 57 of 59 shots in a four-day span.
STANDINGS (through Oct. 5): Devils - 2 points, 1st place (tied), Atlantic Division. Flyers - 0 points, 3rd place (tied), 2 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Devils - Gionta and Brylin, 2 goals; Seven players with 1 assist; Gionta, 3 points; Parise and Richard Matvichuk, 4 PIM. Flyers - Simon Gagne, Mike Richards and Mike Knuble, 1 goal; Forsberg and Eric Desjardins, 2 assists and 2 points; Forsberg, Branko Radivojevic, Keith Primeau and Jon Sim, 2 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 5): Devils - Power play: 25.0 percent (2 for 8), 3rd (Tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 90.9 percent (10 for 11), 11th (Tied). Flyers - Power play: 10.0 percent (1 for 10), 18th. Penalty killing: 50.0 percent (2 for 4), 29th.
GOALTENDERS: Devils - Brodeur (1-0-0, 0 SO, 1.00 GAA); Scott Clemmensen (no record). Flyers - Esche (0-1-0, 5.08); Antero Niittymaki (no record).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Flyers 3-2-1.
LAST MEETING: Mar. 13, Flyers 2-1. At Philadelphia, Marcus Ragnarsson snapped a tie 23 seconds into the third period, and Esche made 13 saves in the final 20 minutes to preserve the victory.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devils - 1-0-0 on the road; Flyers - 0-1-0 at home.