Jaromir Jagr and Martin Brodeur, two 41-year-old veterans, did what they’ve done throughout their brilliant careers on Sunday night for New Jersey.
The Devils’ hard-hitting winger Cam Janssen did something he rarely does — score.
Jagr became the eighth player in NHL history to top 1,700 points, Brodeur got his 123rd shutout, and Janssen got his fifth career goal in the New Jersey’s 5-0 victory over the Nashville Predators.
Jagr, who also had an assist, boosted his career totals to 686 goals and 1,015 assists, to put him at 1,701. Former Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Mario Lemieux is seventh with 1,723 points – 690 goals and 1,033 assists.
”Who knows, I might have had 1900 points if I hadn’t played in Russia for those 3 1/2 years,” Jagr said. ”I shot to the opposite side (on his goal). I used to score a lot of goals like that.”
Brodeur stopped 15 shots to improve to 4-3-2 this season with his 673rd career victory.
Janssen scored 2:54 into the second period for the Devils (5-7-5), his second in three games.
”He’s on pace to score 57 goals,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said with a smile.
Marek Zidlicky made it 3-0 less than 6 minutes later on a power play. Travis Zajac and Mattias Tedenby added goals in the third period.
Carter Hutton stopped 18 shots for Nashville (8-7-2).
Andy Greene and Peter Harrold each were credited with an assist on Jagr’s milestone goal. Harrold touched the puck to Jagr near the blue line and the 41-year-old skated left and pulled a shot at the left circle that beat Hutton inside the far post.
The crowd began chanting ”Ca-am Jans-sen, Ca-am Jans-sen” after the fourth line winger connected for his second goal of the season. Mark Zidlicky poked the puck over the blue line and Ryan Carter picked it up and skated straight on goal. His shot was stuffed by Hutton, but Janssen was there to knock it in.
”I kind of like this goal-scoring thing, I might have to keep trying to do this,” Janssen said. ”What a cool feeling.”
Defenseman Zidlicky connected on the power play with a slap shot from the right point. Rookie defenseman Eric Gelinas sent the puck to Zidlicky, who wound up for his shot that beat Hutton to the near side while the Devils’ Adam Henrique provided a screen.
Brodeur made a nice glove save in the final minute of the second period to thwart Nashville’s Matt Hendricks as he broke in on the net unmarked.
”Not many shots, but that’s the way we like it,” Brodeur said. ”We killed six penalties against guys who shoot the puck 100 miles per hour, so we have to be happy with the way we played.”
Zajac’s goal was the prettiest the Devils scored. Dainius Zubrus carried the puck over the blue line and pass to Jagr on his right. Jagr sent it across to Zajac, who finished it.
Tedenby closed the scoring with 44 seconds remaining.
”They’re a tough team to play against,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. ”When we did get a couple looks, Marty (Brodeur) was pretty good.”
NOTES: Hendricks headed to the locker room six minutes into the third period with an injury, immediately after he slammed Gelinas into the boards. … C Stephen Gionta was scratched with a sore foot, snapping his string of 65 straight starts for the Devils. C Jacob Josefson replaced Gionta on the fourth line between LW Carter and RW Janssen. … C Mike Fisher was scratched for the Predators. … Nashville had not played in Newark since posting a 3-1 victory on Dec. 17, 2010.