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Devils finally convert power-play chances

11/15/2002

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Devils hope their
problems with the power play are behind them.

The Devils' league-worst power play came alive Friday night,
converting three of six chances in a 5-1 rout of the Montreal Canadiens.

"For the first time you can say we played well on the power
play,'' coach Pat Burns said. "We kept it simple and that's the
way we get power-play goals.''

The numbers coming into the game were awful. New Jersey was
5-for-62 with the man advantage for a paltry 8.1 percent.

Jamie Langenbrunner had a second straight two-goal game and
Brian Gionta, Sergei Brylin and Patrik Elias also chipped in with
goals. Martin Brodeur made 20 saves to improve to 10-4.

Saku Koivu had the lone goal for Montreal, and Jeff Hackett --
pelted with 44 Devils shots -- lost for the first time (4-1-2).

Langenbrunner scored on the power play and while shorthanded in
the first period to give the Devils a 2-1 lead.

Langenbrunner, who also had two goals in the Devils' 3-2 win
over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Tuesday, got the Devils rolling
with the power-play goal at 2:54. With two Canadiens in the penalty
box, Brian Rafalski fired a point shot that flew wide of the net
and caromed off the end boards to Langenbrunner for an easy score.

"I think we're starting to simplify it and the simplier we are,
the better we are,'' Langenbrunner said of the power-play
proficiency. "Tonight, it was just getting shots at the net and
getting goals that way.''

Koivu pulled Montreal even at 11:13 with a great effort. After
taking a pass from Richard Zednik, Koivu slipped past Brylin and
Scott Stevens to rifle the puck past Brodeur.

Langenbrunner polished off a 2-on-1 break with Madden for the
shorthanded score at 14:11.

New Jersey expanded its lead to 4-1 on second-period goals by
Gionta and Brylin.

Elias set up Gionta for a power-play tally at 3:52 as he faked a
shot and carried deep into the Montreal zone. He fed a pass from
behind the net to Gionta for a simple tap in.

Brylin tipped in Madden's point shot at 11:53 to give New Jersey
a three-goal advantage.

Elias closed out the scoring with a power-play goal with 2:01
remaining in the third.

Montreal, unbeaten in its two previous road games, could not
hold off the Devils who attacked all night.

"It was embarrasing, the way that we played,'' Canadiens coach
Michel Therrien said. "When we wear the Montreal Canadiens jersey,
we should wear it with pride. We're not wearing it with pride right
now.''

Game notes
The game marked the homecoming for Randy McKay, who played
760 games with the Devils. McKay was a member of New Jersey's
Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1995 and 2000. The Devils traded McKay
to Dallas in March in the deal that brought Joe Nieuwendyk and
Langenbrunner to New Jersey. McKay signed with Montreal over the
summer as a free agent. ... The Devils and Canadiens meet again
Saturday night in Montreal. ... Brodeur has started all 14 Devils
games. He is closing in on his own club record, set last year, of
19 consecutive starts from the beginning of a season. ... Scott
Niedermayer got his 300th career assist on Brylin's second-period
goal. ... The Devils' struggling power play had a productive night,
converting three of six opportunities. New Jersey entered with the
league's worst power play: 5-for-62, 8.1 percent.