Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Devils Really Motoring

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Devils Really Motoring

Article excerpt

DETROIT - About the only thing the Devils were left wanting Thursday night was the identity of their first-round playoff opponent.

Otherwise, it was a very fulfilling evening at Joe Louis Arena.

Petr Sykora reached the 20-goal mark for the 11th time in his career by scoring with 8:40 left in regulation to give the Devils a 2-1 victory over the Red Wings that got the Devils to the 100-point mark for the 13th time in team history.

Martin Brodeur made 23 saves to notch his 30th win of the season - breaking his tie with Patrick Roy for the NHL record by reaching that plateau for the 14th time in his career.

The victory was the Devils' fifth in a row, equaling their longest winning streak of the season. It also was their first at Joe Louis Arena since Nov. 6, 1996, ending a nine-game losing streak in Detroit.

As it turned out, the result did not matter as far as playoff seeding. Once Philadelphia completed its 2-1 win over Buffalo on Thursday night, the Devils were locked into the sixth seed in the East.

That didn't matter to Devils coach Pete DeBoer, whose team closes out the regular season by hosting Ottawa on Saturday afternoon.

"We're trying to win as many games as we can here until the end of the season," DeBoer said. "I'm not really scoreboard watching. Obviously, I'm interested in who we're going to end up playing, but we're trying to put as many points on the board and win as many games as we can and we'll see who we get."

The Devils will face either Florida or Washington in the first round of the playoffs, beginning on the road on either Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

They will take on Florida if the Panthers pick up one point in their regular-season finale against Carolina on Saturday night, or if the Capitals lose their finale against the Rangers on Saturday afternoon.

If the Capitals win their finale against the Rangers and the Panthers lose in regulation to Carolina, the Capitals win the Southeast and will face the Devils in the first round. …

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