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Rob Ftorek


C - Bobby Holik, Bob Carpenter, Denis Pederson, Petr Sykora, Jason Arnott, Sergei Brylin, Brendan Morrison. LW - Dave Andreychuk, Brian Rolston, Scott Daniels, Jay Pandolfo, Sasha Lakovic. RW - Patrik Elias, Randy McKay, Vadim Sharifijanov, Krzysztof Oliwa. D - Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Ken Daneyko, Lyle Odelein, Kevin Dean, Sheldon Souray, Brad Bombardir, Ken Sutton. G - Martin Brodeur, Chris Terreri


Kevin Dean, d (groin, Injured Reserve); Bob Carpenter, c (elbow, day-to-day).


Recalled Ken Sutton, d, from Albany (AHL); Recalled Colin White, d, from Albany (December 10); Assigned Colin White, d, to Albany (December 12).


12/08  Philadelphia     T  5-5
12/10  at Philadelphia  W  5-4 OT
12/12  Colorado         W  5-3
12/16  NY Rangers       W  6-3
12/18  Calgary          L  5-2
12/19  at Montreal      T  1-1


Atlantic Division   GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA 
  New Jersey        30  18   8   4    40   90   76 
  Philadelphia      31  14   9   8    36   86   70   
  Pittsburgh        29  13   9   7    33   83   80   
  NY Rangers        31  11  13   7    29   84   86  
  NY Islanders      32  12  19   1    25   79   93


by Eric Witzel, New Jersey Correspondent

The Devils are taking that old saying "It is better to give than receive during the holiday season" to a whole new level. The men in red and black have been giving losses to just about everyone who gets in their way. They are 6-1-3 in their last 10 games, and will glide into the two-day Christmas break with no less than a five-point lead in the Atlantic Division.

The Devils held a four-point lead over the second place Philadelphia Flyers, until the home-on-home series the clubs had about two weeks ago. The first game, in the Meadowlands, ended up in a 5-5 tie. The good guys blew a lead late in the game, culminated by Martin Brodeur inadvertently swatted a loose puck out of the air and into his own net.

The second game of the two-game series was the complete opposite. The Flyers had a 4-1 lead, but the Devils fought back to win 5-4 in overtime. A short-handed goal by Brian Rolston followed by a goal from Randy McKay 90 seconds later shifted the momentum in the Devils' favor. Bobby Holik took a pass from McKay late in the third to knot the game at 4-4.

The overtime goal was one of the bizarre sort. The Flyers had several chances to clear the puck down the ice, but the Devils maintained good pressure. Defenseman Lyle Odelein had a point-blank shot at an empty net, but rang a shot off the post. The puck eventually found its way to the stick of Dave Andreychuk, who made no mistake and buried the game-winner.

In the first game against Philly, Ken Daneyko broke ex-Devil John MacLean's team record for games played, appearing in his 935th game in a Devils uniform.

The winning continued against a banged-up Colorado Avalanche squad. Bobby Holik must have received a Superman outfit for Christmas, because he put it on for this game. Holik picked up his game a notch, both mentally and physically. He looked faster and stronger than everyone else on the ice - especially in the third period.

Holik netted the game-winning goal on a pretty play. He won an offensive zone faceoff cleanly back to Sheldon Souray, fought his way to the front of the net, and tipped the puck past Av's backup goalie Craig Billington.

The New York Rangers were the next victims, as they were spanked once again by Ftorek's Boys. Today's Trivia: When was the last time the Rangers beat the Devils?

The Devils suffered their first loss in nine games at the hands of the Calgary Flames, 5-2, on December 18. The game marked backup goaltender Chris Terreri's first loss since his return to New Jersey. Two different leads were blown in this game - Scott Stevens' goal 57 seconds into the game made it 1-0, and a goal from Bobby Holik improved the score to 2-1. But both leads were short-lived, and the Devils couldn't get it going again.

Five Alive

Five is a significant number if you are a New Jersey Devil. Five is the amount of points they lead the second place Flyers in the Atlantic Division. Five is the number of games in a row they scored five or more goals (which is the most in team history). And five is the number of players on the team who are projected to score 30 plus goals this season (Bobby Holik, Petr Sykora, Dave Andreychuk, Jason Arnott, Jay Pandolfo - which would also be a team record).

What Does Jacques Think?

When asked about the Devils' new, open style of play, ex-head coach Jacques Lemaire gave his opinion. Much to the surprise of many, he responded positively to the "new system" - stating that, "This particular group of guys make this system work - well." He pointed out that Patrik Elias and Petr Sykora, in particular, are really adapting to it. Another thing that Lemaire pointed out was that he liked the idea of the defense becoming such a big component of the offensive rush.

The Devils of old are history, and the Devils of new are here to stay. They are in first place in the Eastern Conference, second in the NHL. They are third in the league in goals scored (90), trailing only Toronto (98) and Detroit (94). They are the hottest team in the league, going 6-1-3 in their last 10 games. The scariest part about it is that, besides their goalie and a defenseman or two, they don't have a household name on their roster (except, of course in some Northern Jersey households). Watch out!

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