Canadiens captain Brian Gionta watched on television from his home in Rochester while his kid brother, Stephen, scored the first goal and set up Ryan Carter for the winner to lead the Devils over the Rangers in Game Five of the conference finals.
Hockey fans for years have known about Brian Gionta, the former Boston College star who won a Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2003 and has played 647 NHL games. Stephen spent six years in the minors, had no goals in 12 NHL games before scoring in his first and only contest this season. It was enough to stay with the big club for the playoffs.
Stephen has three goals and six points in 17 postseason games for the Devils. He's been playing on the fourth line with Ryan Carter and Steve Bernier, and they've had a big impact on the series. The Devils can reach the Stanley Cup final with a win in Game Six over the Rangers -- and his childhood buddy, Blueshirts Ryan Callahan.
"He’s finally getting some recognition for himself for something he’s doing," Brian said today by telephone. "Unfortunately, at times, it’s probably been difficult on him going to BC and being in New Jersey. It was tough being in that shadow. It’s nice seeing him stepping out of that and getting some recognition for himself."
For more, read my column Friday in The Buffalo News.
--- Bucky Gleason