Devils Need 1 For Division Title

The New Jersey Devils need only one point to claim their second straight Atlantic Division title, but Martin Brodeur would rather see his team get two.

The Devils look to clinch their division and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference while Brodeur tries to set a single-season NHL record for victories when they visit the woeful Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.

Oddsmakers have made Toronto -120 money line (NHL Odds) favorites for todays game, the over/under has been set at 6.5 total goals (View NHL Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 60% of bets for this game have been placed on Toronto -120 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

Brodeur got his 47th win of the season on Tuesday, tying Bernie Parent's record set in 1973-74 in New Jersey's 2-1 shootout victory over Ottawa.

The two-time Vezina Trophy winner made 22 saves before stopping four of six attempts in the shootout.

"It's amazing. I never thought I would be able to get that far into the wins in a season," said Brodeur, who has allowed one goal in each of his last three games. "I've met Bernie and through the years I got to appreciate how hard it is to get to that 47 plateau. Even with the shootouts, it's still a lot of wins and you have to play a lot of games."

Tuesday's victory gave the Devils (48-24-8) three in a row, and they are trying to win four straight for the first time since Feb. 1-8.

With 104 points, New Jersey is three ahead of second-place Pittsburgh in the Atlantic with two games remaining for both teams. The Devils, who have three more wins than the Penguins, need just one point in their last two games to win their seventh division title in 10 seasons.

They have earned a point in every game against Philadelphia this season, going 6-0-1, and wrap up their regular season on Sunday against the New York Islanders, whom they have beaten in the last six meetings.

Brodeur has been in net for all seven games versus the Flyers this season, and is 11-1-1 with a 1.88 goals-against average in his last 13 games against them.

New Jersey didn't look like it would have a chance to win the division with the way it was playing for most of March, losing seven of its first 10 games in the month. A three-game losing streak had the Devils' division lead down to two points on March 22, but they have since bounced back to win five of six.

Tuesday's victory came in general manager's Lou Lamoriello first game as coach.

Lamoriello fired coach Claude Julien on Monday, saying he didn't like how the team was playing with the Stanley Cup playoffs a week away. He liked what he saw against the Senators.

"The focus was there, from the locker room, right onto the ice," Lamoriello said. "I couldn't be more pleased with their concentration and the way they were switching. If something didn't go the way you'd like to see it, it didn't matter."

John Madden scored the Devils' only regulation goal against the Senators, and got the game-winner in the sixth round of the shootout.

The Flyers (21-46-12) lost to Toronto 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday to drop their third straight.

Philadelphia, which will finish with the worst record in the league, has lost nine of 11 games.

"You don't want to be in a position at the end of the year where you have to play spoiler, but that's our role now," said Mike York, who scored his 10th goal of the season on Tuesday.

The Flyers host the Islanders on Saturday and Buffalo on Sunday to close their disappointing season.

by: Gary Roberts - - Email Us

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