It was a great weekend for me. Hey, any weekend when I don't stumble down a flight of stairs (that happened last weekend -- broken toe, mild concussion) is a great weekend for me. I guess there's no escaping injury for any of us in hockey during this unusually painful season.
The New Jersey Devils certainly aren't letting their bumps and bruises get them down. For Jacques Lemaire's team, I don't think it could get much worse than losing top defenseman Paul Martin, who has been out since suffering a broken arm on Oct. 24. The Minnesota native plays big minutes in all situations for the Devils. Still, they haven't missed a beat since he went out. After beating the Washington Capitals 5-2 on Saturday night, the Devils are 8-1 without Martin -- including eight straight wins.
So, I'll start this edition of the Monday 10 with a little more talk about the team from the great state of New Jersey.
1. New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers: We have a good one on the schedule Monday night in Philadelphia. The Devils bring a pair of impressive streaks (the other is a nine-game road winning streak) down the New Jersey Turnpike and across the Walt Whitman Bridge to the Wachovia Center to face the Flyers.
Chris Pronger and his pals spoiled Jersey's home opener, hammering the Devils 5-2. Lemaire's bunch can make yet another early-season statement with a win over the Flyers. If they can make it 10 straight on the road, the Devils would tie the mark for road victories to start a season. The 2006-07 Sabres own the current league record.
Among these Devils, I have to give a little love to defenseman Andy Greene, who had an interesting streak of his own snapped on Saturday night. In his previous five games, Greene had scored or assisted on the winning goal. Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson was the last guy to accomplish that feat, turning the unusual five-game trick in January 2007.
Greene, 27, who signed with the Devils as a free agent in 2006 after completing a stellar four-year college career at Miami (Ohio), couldn't even crack the lineup out of training camp. After sitting out the first two games of this season (both losses), Greene has made himself a valuable part of the club's blue line. In fact, the Devils are 14-1 with him in the lineup.
On Saturday against Washington, Greene finished with a plus-3 rating in a team-best 25 minutes, 36 seconds of ice time. Right now, he's playing within himself and helping the Eastern Conference-leading Devils. For a guy who thought he might be headed to the minors, that has to feel pretty good.
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