NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -While much of the preseason talk about the New Jersey Devils has focused on the return of Brian Rolston and Bobby Holik, the player who decided the season opener was the man who has been the face of this team since the 1990s - Martin Brodeur.
Brodeur stopped a penalty shot and finished with 25 saves, Patrik Elias and Zach Parise scored goals and the Devils spoiled Scott Gordon's NHL coaching debut with a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday night.
``Marty is Marty. He is the best goalie of all time,'' said Rolston, who had an assist in his first game with the Devils since late in 1999. ``He was awesome again tonight, and unfortunately that is what everyone is expecting of him.''
Hockey historians also are expecting a record or two this season from the 36-year-old, four-time Vezina Trophy winner. His win in the season opener gave him 539 in his career, 12 shy of the NHL mark held by Patrick Roy.
ter for the team. It looks like he hasn't missed a beat. Nothing has changed. That's great for us.''
Brodeur said it has been tough waiting a week to play the season opener.
``It was nice to be in our building and have people cheering for us,'' said Brodeur, who heard a lot from Rangers' fans after New York eliminated New Jersey in the first round of the playoffs last spring.
In other games Friday night, it was Buffalo 2, Montreal 1 in a shootout; Carolina 6, Florida 4; the New York Rangers 4, Chicago 2; Atlanta 7, Washington 4; St. Louis 5, Nashville 2; and Columbus 5, Dallas 4 in overtime.
Doug Weight had a power-play goal for the Islanders and Joey MacDonald made 27 saves filling in for longtime starter Rick DiPietro, who is working his way back from surgery. He played in only one preseason game.
Gordon said the team was just being careful with DiPietro.
``If we were to lose the first three games of the year and he is better for it, then we are a better team for it,'' said Gordon, who replaced Ted Nolan behind the bench.
Gordon was happy with his team's effort.
``We had some opportunities in the slot that Brodeur made great saves on,'' said Gordon, the AHL coach of the year last season with Providence. ``You know what? The first period we were a little jittery, but I thought we picked it up in the second and continued in the third.''
on a deflection off a teammate. Other than that he was perfect, although he got help when Richard Park had shots in the first and second period hit off goalposts.
Brodeur's best save came late in the first period on a penalty shot by Kyle Okposo. The young forward stumbled slightly after skating into the Devils' zone, but he got off a rising shot to the top corner of the net that Brodeur deflected away with his glove.
``I tried to give him something to take, and I gave him a little of my glove,'' Brodeur said. ``He took it. He has a hard shot and I thought he would try to overpower me, and that's what he did. He made a good try. I got a little piece of it, just enough.''
Elias provided the game winner 29 seconds into the middle period on a bang-bang play in front. Brian Gionta sent a pass across the crease that Elias nudged toward MacDonald while the two bumped. The rebound lay in the crease for a second and that's all Elias needed to find it and backhand it into the net.
Weight, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason, got his first goal with the Islanders when his centering pass hit off the skate of Devils defenseman Paul Martin and slid past Brodeur at 9:48.
.
Sabres 2, Canadiens 1, SO
Ales Kotalik and Drew Stafford scored shootout goals to help host Buffalo spoil Montreal's start to its 100th season.
Thomas Vanek scored the lone goal in regulation and Ryan Miller stopped 27 shots through overtime and didn't allow a goal on the two shots he faced in the shootout.
Robert Lang scored the lone goal for Montreal.
Thrashers 7, Capitals 4
Bryan Little had two goals, including the go-ahead score in the third period, to lead host Atlanta. Ron Hainsey, Marty Reasoner, Slava Kozlov, Colby Armstrong and Todd White had the Thrashers' other goals.
Mike Green had two goals, and Alexander Semin and David Steckel also scored for Washington.
Rangers 4, Blackhawks 2
Brandon Dubinsky scored once and added two assists, and newcomers Wade Redden, Aaron Voros and Nikolai Zherdev also scored to help New York improve to 3-0.
Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith had visiting Chicago's goals.
Hurricanes 6, Panthers 4
Joni Pitkanen and Dan LaCouture scored in their Carolina debut to lead the host Hurricanes.
Rod Brind'Amour, Tuomu Ruutu and Ray Whitney scored, Matt Cullen added an empty-net goal, Tim Gleason had three assists and Frantisek Kaberle added two for Carolina.
Nathan Horton, Radek Dvorak, David Booth and former Hurricane Cory Stillman scored for Florida.
Blues 5, Predators 2
k scored two power-play goals, and Brad Boyes and David Backes also scored with the man advantage to lead host St. Louis, which won its season opener for the first time since 1996. Barrett Jackman had an even-strength goal for the Blues.
Ryan Suter and Joel Ward scored for the Predators.
Blue Jackets 5, Stars 4, OT
Rick Nash scored from the slot with 20 seconds left in overtime to lift give visiting Columbus its second win in the last 19 games against Dallas. Kristian Huselius, Jakub Voracek, Andrew Murray and Derick Brassard scored in regulation for the Blue Jackets.
Brenden Morrow, James Neal, Brad Richards and Trevor Daley scored for Dallas.

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