COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ The New Jersey Devils never lose track of one
``It's not the finish that counts,'' coach Pat Burns said. ``It's the final
Grant Marshall scored in his first game against his former team and Patrik
Elias added a goal and an assist in the Devils' 4-3 victory over the Columbus
Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
Marshall spent almost two full years with the Blue Jackets before being
traded to the Devils late last season for a draft pick.
``It's just clicking right now,'' Marshall said. ``We're doing a lot of good
things. We're working hard, which is the biggest thing. And we're getting the
puck to the points and the open areas. We're all working well together.''
Sergei Brylin added a goal, and Martin Brodeur stopped 28 shots as New
Jersey won its third in a row. Brian Gionta also scored, into an empty net.
Rick Nash scored his NHL-leading 31st goal for the Blue Jackets, who traded
top defenseman Darryl Sydor to Tampa Bay earlier Tuesday for center Alexander
Svitov. Nash added an assist.
Brad Moran, called up from the minors earlier in the day, had the first goal
and first assist of his NHL career. Tyler Wright also scored for Columbus,
which fell to 3-1-1 at home under interim coach Gerard Gallant.
The Blue Jackets preferred to discuss their comeback rather than an early
``For two periods we competed real hard and played even up with those
guys,'' Gallant said. ``We just let it get away in the first period.''
The Devils led 3-0 after the first 20 minutes _ the first time they've
scored three goals in a period since Dec. 19 at Buffalo.
Marshall scored his sixth power-play goal. He scooped the puck past
goaltender Marc Denis after Denis blocked Scott Gomez's hard shot from the
point and quick rebound putbacks by Brian Rafalski and Elias.
``Finesse for me? I don't think it's in my vocabulary,'' Marshall said.
``It's just about reading the plays, getting in the right situation, working
hard and getting some bounces and a little bit of luck.''
Elias then scored his 18th, faking a slap shot on a short-handed rush and
carrying the puck behind the net. He skated back, near the left hash, and
flipped a backhander that eluded Denis and defenseman Jaroslav Spacek.
Brylin made it 3-0 by jamming in a rebound.
``We've got to put games away when we have the chance,'' Elias said.
In a wide-open second period, Nash tied the franchise record with his 15th
power-play goal. Moran carried the puck behind the net and passed to David
Vyborny. Brodeur sprawled on the ice to block Vyborny's point-blank shot but
Nash was there to swat in the rebound.
The Devils killed 21 straight penalties before Nash's goal.
Wright cut the lead to 3-2 when he slipped in a shot from a hard angle with
2:17 remaining, only to have Gionta beat defenseman Duvie Westcott to a loose
puck off a faceoff to score into an empty net.
Moran scored with 23 seconds left to cut the lead to one goal again, but the
Devils withstood a wild final few seconds.
``We made it difficult on ourselves by the way we played in the last few
minutes,'' Brodeur said. ``We pulled it off _ it's nice to start the road trip
out like that. It's pretty rare that we have the luxury of having three goals
in one period. So it was definitely a good start.''