Canucks atop NHL with win over Devils
|New Jersey Devils left wing Ilya Kovalchuk (17) and left wing Zach Parise (9) and Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider (R) watch the puck after Schneider made a save in the first period of their NHL hockey game in Newark, New Jersey, February 24, 2012. (REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)
NEWARK - Cory Schneider made 30 saves, including stopping all 10 shots he faced in the final period, as Vancouver moved to the top of the NHL standings with a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.
Aaron Rome and Mason Raymond scored for the Canucks, who have won two in a row and six of their last seven games. They were coming off a 4-3 shootout win over the Red Wings on Thursday, as they ended Detroit's NHL-record home winning streak at 23 games. Friday's win moved the Canucks a point ahead of Detroit in the Western Conference.
David Clarkson had the lone goal for the Devils, who had won their previous four contests. Martin Brodeur made 14 stops, but New Jersey suffered just its second regulation defeat since the All-Star break.
The Devils also made news off the ice. During the game, they acquired defenceman Marek Zidlicky from Minnesota in exchange for forwards Nick Palmieri and Stephane Veilleux, defenceman Kurtis Foster, a second-round pick in 2012 and a conditional third-round pick in 2013.
Rome lit the lamp 8:44 into the contest with a rebound tally. Brodeur made a sprawling save of a long shot from Chris Tanev, but Rome was on the doorstep below the left circle and deposited the disc in the open net for his fourth goal of the year.
The Canucks doubled the advantage 2:07 into the middle period on Raymond's seventh score of the season. The goal was Vancouver's first shot since Rome's tally. David Booth skated into the offensive zone and delivered a drop pass above the right circle to Raymond. An ensuing wrist shot deflected off the shin pad of Devils defenceman Andy Greene, and the puck fluttered into the far side of the net.
"It was lucky, it went off his leg or feet," Brodeur said.
Clarkson scored with just over eight minutes left in the second on a puck that deflected off his skate and the blade of Vancouver defenceman Dan Hamhuis. The two came together near the crease after a centering pass from the left circle from Patrik Elias.
Zach Parise had an opportunity to tie the game 4:16 into the third, but his open shot from the right circle went into the chest of Schneider. Parise was denied on a wraparound try midway through the period.
The Devils pulled Brodeur for the extra attacker in the final minute, but couldn't generate a decent scoring opportunity.
"It was a good test for us. I thought we played well," Parise said.
Before the game, the Devils honored announcer Mike "Doc" Emrick, who spent 21 years in the Devils' broadcast booth. He called three Stanley Cup seasons, until his retirement in 2011 and now calls nationally broadcast hockey games for NBC Sports...Vancouver has taken three straight and eight of the last 10 in this series...Since the 2006-07 season, the Canucks have posted the NHL's best record of 183-3-12 when entering the third period with the lead.