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Devils' Brodeur blanks Blue Jackets for 83rd shutout

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- When the New Jersey Devils are
playing defense and Martin Brodeur is on top of his game, the NHL
doesn't seem so wide open.

Brodeur stopped 22 shots for his second straight shutout and
Zach Parise provided the winner late in the second period to lead
the Devils to a 1-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on
Saturday night.

"That's how we're going to be successful," Brodeur said after
his third shutout of the season. "That's how we turned it around
last year, by playing well defensively. When we take care of our
own zone and don't allow quality chances, it makes a difference in
how much team success we're going to have."

The shutout also was Brodeur's 83rd of his career, moving him
into sole possession of fourth place on the NHL list, one ahead of
Hall of Famer Jacques Plante and one shy of Glenn Hall for third
place.

"Everytime you move forward in the rankings, it's great,"
Brodeur said. "The winning is what it's all about. That's what the
shutouts give us, a two-game winning streak."

The Devils' shutout streak follows a three-game losing streak in
which they gave up 15 goals.

Columbus, which was playing its second game in as many nights,
only had a few good scoring chances. Rick Nash had the best chance
from between the circles on a first-period power play, while
Nikolai Zherdev was stopped in close on a rebound on the first of
two power plays in the final 5 minutes. Nash also blistered a
short-handed shot from the right circle with less than a minute to
go that hit Brodeur in the chest.

Brodeur barely saw Nash's first shot, which hit the top of his
pad.

"I don't know how he saved it, I thought it was in," Nash
said. "He's one of the best goalies in the league, and one of the
best goalies there has ever been. They are a good defensive team. I
am sure they win a lot of 1-0 games, but he came up big for them."

Parise broke up a goaltending duel between Brodeur and Pascal
Leclaire with his second goal in as many games and his fifth of the
season. It may have gone into the net off a Columbus stick.

With the Blue Jackets unable to get the puck out of their own
end, Parise exchanged passes with defenseman Brian Rafalski before
finding Travis Zajac between the circles. The rookie's shot missed
the net and bounced off the end boards to Parise at the right side
of the net.

With Leclaire scrambling to get back to his feet, Parise's stuff
shot caromed into the net off the stick of either Columbus
defenseman Duvie Westcott or Zherdev.

"After Travis took the shot, I don't know if he (Leclaire)
fell, but he was pretty far out of the net," Parise said. "He was
kind of on his back. I just threw it in front and I don't know if
it went straight in or off a stick. I was just trying to throw it
in front."

Until then, Leclaire was outstanding in his bid for a second
straight shutout. He stopped 38 Kings' shots on Friday for his
first career shutout. He finished with 20 saves as the Blue Jackets
lost for the fifth time in six games.

"We played well," Leclaire said. "It was a funny bounce. The
game could have gone either way."

Leclaire stopped Patrik Elias in close in the opening minutes
and Sergei Brylin early in the second period on a power-play setup
by Elias.

Game notes
Devils C Scott Gomez was sidelined with groin injury
suffered Thursday against Florida. Brylin replaced him on the top
line with Brian Gionta and Elias. ... This was the only game
between the teams this season, and Columbus' first trip to the
Continental Airlines Arena since Oct. 12, 2002.