Late-game heroics have become the norm for the diminutive
forward. He scored all the goals as the Devils overcame a
three-goal, third-period deficit Thursday night in a 7-6 shootout
victory over Toronto.
"It's just one of those things," Gionta said. "I just try to
get to the net when it counts. We have to create traffic and try to
get some tips and rebounds."
Devils coach Claude Julien has come to admire Gionta's
persistence around the net.
"This guy really gets his nose dirty in the front of the net,"
Julien said. "He's so good at picking up pucks with his stick.
They have been timely goals, important goals."
Gionta put the Devils ahead at 3:33 of the final period.
Positioned at the top of the crease, Gionta deflected Rafalski's
shot between the pads of Antero Nittymaki.
It was a solid night for Brodeur who rebounded with a strong
game after surrendering five second-period goals against the Maple
Mike Knuble scored twice for the Flyers.
The teams exchanged power-play goals in the first period.
New Jersey scored first at 9:08 when Parise rifled a shot from
the right circle past Nittymaki.
Philadelphia countered at 11:14 as Knuble cut to the net and
took a feed from Peter Forsberg to beat Brodeur. The power-play
tally was a rare development for the Flyers who were 3-for-32 with
the man advantage through the first four games.
Both teams added a goal in the second period.
Knuble scored again to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead at 1:23 as he
knocked in Goeff Sanderson's pass through the crease.
Langenbrunner pulled the Devils even with their second
power-play score with 1:41 remaining in the period. Langenbrunner,
in the high slot, deflected Rafalski's point shot.
The Devils controlled the final period, outshooting the Flyers
"We were on the right track, doing everything right," Knuble
said. "Why we fell off, I don't know. I don't think we figured we
had the game in the bag. They started coming on a bit and we had
trouble getting the puck out of our own end. It became hard to
The morning skate for both teams at Continental Airlines
Arena was canceled due to a water-main break on Route 120, the
highway that runs past the arena. The break, which occurred Friday
afternoon, was repaired by 1:30 p.m. Saturday. ... Nittymaki made
his fourth straight start for the Flyers; Brodeur has started all
four games for the Devils. ... Philadelphia kicked off a four-game
road trip which continues with games against Buffalo, Tampa Bay and
Florida. ... Devils defenseman David Hale remains sidelined with an
eye injury suffered in practice on Sept. 29. ... Devils captain
Patrik Elias played in his 600th game.