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Reunited Devils line earns ‘A'-like results

SHARE Reunited Devils line earns ‘A'-like results

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New Jersey Devils reunited their 'A' line out of necessity and convenience.

The results were encouraging as Patrik Elias scored the second goal in the Devils' 2-1 win Tuesday night over the St. Louis Blues.

The Devils, struggling on offense all season, have broken up the trio of Elias, Petr Sykora and Jason Arnott at various times. With Sykora back after missing three games because of a virus, the timing was right for a reunion.

The line clicked instantly, combining for seven shots and producing heavy pressure.

"We wanted to get back together and start playing the way we have the last couple of years," Elias said. "I hope we figured out that unless we work as hard as we did, then we're not going to go anywhere. We had a game that we needed to have."

Devils coach Larry Robinson challenged all of his offensive players to work harder.

"We've had great chances to score," Robinson said. "We haven't had the hunger to score.

"You look at all the great goal scorers to play the game. They had that look in their eye that they want to score. In our guys, I see more frustration than really doing something about it."

Sergei Brylin also scored for the Devils, who hadn't won two straight since Dec. 5-8. New Jersey improved to 17-14-5-2 and moved over .500 — counting overtime losses — for the first time since Nov. 16.

The Devils logged a lot of miles the previous five days, losing at Vancouver on Saturday and winning in Edmonton on Sunday before returning home.

"We played well positionally," Devils center Bobby Holik said. "We didn't have enough jump to get into a high-scoring game. It wasn't pretty, but it is always tough after traveling."

Doug Weight scored for the Blues, 2-7-3-2 on the road since the start of November.

Brylin scored the only goal of the first period at 4:35. Elias made it 2-0 at 13:17 of the second with an unassisted goal.

"It was obviously disappointing because we had started to get some momentum going," Blues goalie Fred Brathwaite said. "It was weak on my part."

New Jersey's Martin Brodeur lost the chance at a shutout when Weight scored at 7:41 of the third.

"They really picked up their intensity from that goal," Brodeur said. "They were on us a lot more and showed why they are such a good team.

"We had control most of the game. That goal made them believe they were able to come back, and it made us feel our road trip."

St. Louis, pressing for the tying goal, had 16 shots in the third period. Brodeur held the Blues off, finishing with 27 saves.

CAPITALS 3, ISLANDERS 2: Andrei Nikolishin and Jeff Halpern scored on consecutive shots at the end of the second period for Washington.

The host Capitals increased the NHL's longest head-to-head unbeaten streak to 21 games. The Islanders haven't defeated the Capitals since March 2, 1997, going 0-18-3.

Sergei Gonchar also scored for the Capitals, who won for only the second time in seven games.

Jason Blake and Michael Peca scored for the Islanders, who have allowed 17 goals in four games.

AVALANCHE 4, PREDATORS 4: Cliff Ronning scored two third-period goals in a little more than a minute for Nashville.

After the visiting Avalanche went up 3-2 through one period, Ronning's first goal, with 8:37 remaining, tied it.

Colorado's Eric Messier answered 12 seconds later, only for Ronning to strike again at 12:44.