Trying to put aside his road struggles, Martin Brodeur seeks his second consecutive shutout Saturday when the New Jersey Devils play the Boston Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden.
Brodeur turned aside 28 shots for his fourth shutout of the season and 84th of his career - passing Glenn Hall for third all-time list - in Friday's 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. The veteran netminder helped the Devils (16-9-2) improve to 11-1-1 at home and extend their overall winning streak to four games.
"I'm moving up in the world of hockey and it's hard to think about all these big names I'm surpassing," said Brodeur, who earlier this season passed Jacques Plante on the shutout list. "For me, I didn't think I would do that ever. I'm just happy it's happening and I hope it won't be the last guy I pass."
But the 34-year-old Brodeur has endured some surprising struggles on the road this season. He is just 5-8-1 with a 2.56 goals-against average outside Continental Airlines Arena, and has not won a road game in regulation since Nov. 18, a 2-1 victory at Toronto.
Brodeur, though, did post a shootout victory over the Flyers last Saturday in his most recent road appearance to snap a personal four-game losing streak away from home. He is 17-13 with eight ties, a 2.54 GAA and four shutouts lifetime against the Bruins, whom he has not shut out since a 33-save effort in a 1-0 victory Dec. 30, 2002, at Boston.
Brian Gionta had a goal and an assist Friday for the Devils, who scored both their goals on the power play and are 7-for-21 with the man advantage over the past five games. Patrik Elias, who assisted on Jamie Langenbrunner's first-period tally, has three goals and three assists in a five-game points streak.
Gionta had four goals and an assist in his last three games against the Bruins last season.
The Bruins (14-10-2) continued their recent torrid play Thursday, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 for their 10th victory in the last 13 games. Brad Stuart, Wayne Primeau and Patrice Bergeron all scored in a 8:28 span of the third period for Boston, which has won five of its last seven home contests.
"I think early on in the year, we tried too hard to win hockey games," Bruins coach Dave Lewis told the team's Web site. "Now, defensively we have more patience."
Goalie Tim Thomas, who had 23 saves, cited the play of the grinding line of Primeau, Mark Mowers and Shean Donovan as a key reason for the Bruins resurgence.
"They've really stepped it up," Thomas told the team's Web site. "It's made a world of difference. When they add that one goal a game, plus play solid defense, plus control the puck for almost their whole shift, that changes the whole game for our team."
Boston has been winning despite a faltering power play that is 0-for-16 over its last five games. The Bruins have played well on the penalty kill, though, yielding just two goals in 22 opportunities in that same span.
The Devils won all four games between the teams last season, but the Bruins salvaged two points with an overtime loss and shootout defeat - both at home.