Devils keep opening simple

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

The Devils made little fuss getting their final season at Continental Airlines Arena underway last night. A division title banner was put in the rafters earlier this week with no fanfare. The pre-game ceremony consisted of a highlight video.

"That's the way it should be," goalie Martin Brodeur said Wednesday. "We're not an organization that's trying to build a reputation. We've raised the biggest banner you can raise, three times."

The team's new home in Newark will be ready next autumn.

Mats Sundin had as many good memories of Jean-Sebastien Aubin's big game here last season as the goaltender himself. The 35-save victory began Aubin's personal run of 9-0-2 and brought the moribund Leafs back in the standings within three points of a playoff spot.

"I really think if we had played just two more games, we would've made the playoffs last year," Sundin said. "I believe that there are buildings where certain players feel more comfortable in."

Sundin used to hate small rinks such as Boston Garden and Chicago Stadium, with small neutral zones that made it easier to contain him.

DEVILS' DISCIPLE

Claude Julien is the latest former Montreal Canadiens employee to find work behind the Devils' bench, following Jacques Lemaire, Larry Robinson (twice), Pat Burns and incumbent assistant Jacques Laperriere. But Julien is a quick convert to general manager Lou Lamoriello's way of doing business.

"They've got great loyalty from the players and it takes both sides to accomplish that when (keeping a team together)," Julien said. "I like the makeup of this team. I believed in a lot of the the things they were doing here before. I use the word tweak when I talk about my role. They've had success for some years here. I'm not going to come in and change it."

The Devils had played just two games before last night.

"Maybe it's a blessing in disguise," Julien said. "We didn't have our full roster through camp, so we've had lots of (practice) time."

LOOSE LEAFS

Leafs GM John Ferguson held an informal chat with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman between periods last night.


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