Series (Game 1 of 1)

New Jersey leads 1-0

Game 1: Tuesday, January 27th
Blue Jackets3

Devils 4

(26-12-1, 63 pts)

Blue Jackets 3

(14-26-3, 38 pts)

7:00 PM ET, January 27, 2004

Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

1 2 3 T
NJ 3 0 14
CBJ 0 1 23

P. Elias (Devils - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

B. Moran (Blue Jackets - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

M. Brodeur (Devils - G): Saves: 28, Save Pct.: .903

Marshall gets goal against former team

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The New Jersey Devils never lose track of one important fact.

"It's not the finish that counts," coach Pat Burns said. "It's the final score."

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 deficit.

"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."

Game notes

The Devils' Midwestern swing against Columbus, Detroit and St. Louis is the last time they change time zones this season. ... Columbus came in riding its longest home unbeaten streak (3-0-1) of the season. ... Geoff Sanderson set the Columbus record with 15 power-play goals last season. ... New Jersey RW Mike Rupp, a Cleveland native, played his first NHL game in his home state. A busload of family and friends made the 90-minute trip to the game. ... Blue Jackets, RW Nikolai Zherdev left the game after he was hit in the groin by Gomez's slap shot in the third period.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press