by PuckStopsHere on 03/03/09 at 03:35 AM ET
Since the beginning of January, the New Jersey Devils have had a 20-7 record which makes them the best team in the league during that period. The Devils have done very well offensively in that period. Four of the twenty highest scorers so far in 2009 are Devils. Zach Parise has 33 points in a tie for third so far this year and he is followed by Jamie Langenbrunner with 30 points (7th place), Travis Zajac 28 points (14th) and Patrik Elias 27 points (19th).
With that offence, Scott Clemmensen did very well in goal. He was rewarded with a trip to the minors when Martin Brodeur returned. In Brodeur, the Devils have probably the best goaltender in hockey. He is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner (a four time winner of that award). In three games since returning, Brodeur has two shutouts a 0.67 GAA and a .971 saves percentage. That brings his season numbers to a 1.81 GAA and a .928 saves percentage. Had he played all season (as opposed to only 13 games) those would be Vezina Trophy calibre numbers.
Brodeur is rested going into the playoff run. That is a new situation for him. He is used to playing the vast majority of games (77 last year) before the playoffs. The rest should do him good. At age 36, he is no longer a young man.
This New Jersey Devils team should be very hard to beat. Depending upon how the trade deadline shakes out they might be the best bet to win the East Conference in the playoffs. In a worst case, they will be one of the toughest teams to beat in the conference.
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