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Danis pleased with rare performance

by Brian Compton
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Yann Danis doesn't get to play very often, and the New Jersey Devils goaltender admitted he puts added pressure on himself when he gets that rare chance to give Martin Brodeur a breather.

Making his first start since Feb. 2 at Toronto, Danis stopped 25 of 29 shots in a 4-2 loss to his former team, the New York Islanders, at the Nassau Coliseum on Saturday night.

While it had been more than a month since his last start, Danis was pleased with the way he played. His teammates made it easy for him at the start, as the Isles had only one shot on goal midway through the opening period.

But Freddy Meyer erased a 1-0 deficit late in the first before Jon Sim and Mark Streit scored 50 seconds apart in the second to make it a 3-1 game after 40 minutes. Sean Bergenheim hammered the final nail in the coffin with a shorthanded goal at 11:33 of the third.

"I actually didn't feel that bad," Danis said. "I felt pretty good. I didn't get a lot of shots early on, but after they scored, I got a few shots. I felt I made a couple of good saves in the second after they scored their two goals. I felt really good all game."

Truth be told, rust didn't appear to be a factor for Danis, who went 10-17-0 with a 2.86 goals-against average in 31 games for the Isles last season. Meyer's goal took an awkward bounce before finding its way over the goal line, and Bergenheim's tally went off Dean McAmmond on its way in.

"I think we were a little bit unlucky," Danis said. "Not to take anything away from their game, but maybe three goals went off someone. It was one of those nights that pucks were finding ways in."

Devils coach Jacques Lemaire agreed.

"He was fine," Lemaire said of his backup goalie. "There's no doubt you wish that he would stop all the pucks, but that's impossible. He had a lot of traffic in front of him. Guys were coming very fast and had a couple of deflections. You never know where the puck's going to go. They went in our net."

With only 15 games remaining in New Jersey's regular season, it's conceivable that Danis has made his final start. Saturday's loss prevented the Devils from moving into a first-place tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Atlantic Division, and there's no doubt Martin Brodeur will play most, if not all, of the games down the stretch. Danis, though, is hopeful he'll be called on again before the playoffs begin.

"I feel like every time I'm out there, I've got something to prove," Danis said. "I want to show that they can have confidence in me and to put me out there and that I can get the job done. Obviously, I want to get the win. I'm a little disappointed, but overall, I was happy with my game."

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