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Devils goalie faces just nine shots

12/5/2003

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Martin Brodeur barely broke a sweat
posting his 69th shutout.

He faced only nine shots as the New Jersey Devils cruised to 3-0
victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.

"Defensively, we were awesome," Brodeur said. "That's as good
as a team can play. I don't know how hard they competed against us,
but we don't care. It's about how we play."

Brodeur got all the offensive support he would need from rookie
defenseman Paul Martin, who had a goal and an assist in the first
period.

Turner Stevenson and Jeff Friesen also scored for the Devils,
who won for the eighth time in their last 10 home games (8-1-1)
while ending a four-game winless skid.

The loss ended three Washington streaks. The Capitals had won
two straight for the first time this season, and Robert Lang (16
games) and Jaromir Jagr (12 games) carried lengthy scoring streaks
into the game.

Martin opened the scoring at 2:25 when he took a drop pass from
Igor Larionov and blasted a shot from the top of the left circle
past goalie Olaf Kolzig.

Martin helped the Devils make it 2-0. With New Jersey on the
power play, Martin fired a shot from the left point that Stevenson
deflected into the net at 9:10.

The Capitals were barely competitive in the first period as the
Devils had a 13-1 shot advantage.

Brodeur was slightly busier in the scoreless second period as
the Devils outshot the Capitals 19-4. He did make an alert play
with three minutes remaining by diving far out of the crease to
knock away an oncoming puck and deny Mike Grier an excellent
scoring chance.

"When you don't face too many shots, sometimes you don't make
the right decisions," Brodeur said. "I made the decision right
away to go out and prevent that shot."

Friesen scored 5:30 into the third period and the focus turned
to Brodeur's shutout bid.

Washington had four shots in the final period with Jagr having
the best chance on a sharp angle shot midway through.

"We tried, but there wasn't any room out there," Capitals
forward Peter Bondra said. "We have to give them credit. They
played well, and that's why they're champions. We have to learn from
them."

Game notes
The nine shots allowed were the second lowest in Devils
history. They held the Vancouver Canucks to eight in a 2-1 victory Dec. 18, 1996. ... Larionov turned 43 Wednesday and on Thursday
became the first player of that age to appear in an NHL game since
Gordie Howe retired in 1980 at 52. ... Devils LW Patrik Elias
played in his 500th game. ... The Devils scratched D Colin White
(bruised knee) and C Scott Gomez (bruised ribs). Corey Schwab
returned as Brodeur's backup after missing seven games with a groin
injury. ... Washington scratched C Jeff Halpern, LW Alexander Semin
and D John Gruden (groin). ... Lang fell one game short of equaling
Mike Gartner's club record of scoring a point in 17 straight.