newjerseydevils.com (Nov. 28) – For 20 minutes, it looked as though the Stars just might spoil the Devils' homecoming.
But on the heels of a four-game sweep of their recent road trip, the Devils regrouped from a 2-0 deficit in the first period to beat the Dallas Stars, 4-2, at Prudential Center on Wednesday.
Dainius Zubrus broke a 2-2 tie with his fifth of the season at 10:57 of the third period as New Jersey scored four times over the game's last 40 minutes for a season-high fifth straight win.
Martin Brodeur, who was honored in a pre-game ceremony for notching 500 career victories, stopped 19 Dallas shots for his fifth win in a row. Brodeur improved to 10-10-1 this season by snapping the Stars' six-game winning streak.
The victory puts the Devils two games over .500 at 12-10-2, and evens their Prudential Center record at 4-4-0. It's the first time this season that the club has recovered to win a game that it trailed after the first period (1-5-1).
David Clarkson and Brian Gionta scored second-period goals for New Jersey, which took the first of a five-game homestand that continues Friday night against the Montreal Canadiens.
Zach Parise added his team-leading ninth of the season on an empty-netter with 16.7 seconds left in regulation.
Parise had been tied in goals with Jay Pandolfo, who left the game after crashing heavily into the end boards 4:23 into the third period.
Pandolfo had a partial breakaway with the Devils shorthanded, and fired a shot off the right post before losing his balance and sliding into the dasher. The team's ironman with 307 consecutive appearances, Pandolfo did not return.
Zubrus' deciding goal developed off of Mike Modano's offensive zone turnover, which Zubrus intercepted to create a two-on-one rush with Jamie Langenbrunner.
Langenbrunner, who has a four-game point streak (7a) fed the puck back to Zubrus for the tap-in past Stars' netminder Marty Turco. New Jersey is 5-2 since Langenbrunner's return from a groin injury on Nov. 14, with the right wing registering nine points over that span.
Clarkson generated his own scoring opportunity by winning a battle along the boards behind Turco, and stuffing home a wrap-around attempt to cut the deficit to 2-1 at 8:52 of the second period.
Gionta's eighth of the season – and third in two games – developed with Parise gaining puck possession in the left corner and dropping it back to Patrik Elias. Elias found Gionta cutting through the slot for a one-time redirection with 1:12 remaining in the period.
New Jersey's recovery was made possible by another perfect performance on the penalty kill, which went 3-for-3 and shut down two Dallas power plays in the second, including 1:37 of a 5-on-3.
The Devils' PK has allowed just one goal in 20 shorthanded situations over the five-game winning streak.
The Devils finished 0-for-3 on the power play, going scoreless on the man-advantage for the first time in four games. New Jersey entered the game with the league's lowest ranked home power play (7.1%), and has scored twice in 31 opportunities at Prudential Center.
Dallas struck first thanks to Stu Barnes, who scored shorthanded at 10:42 of the first period. No sooner had the Devils allowed their third shorthanded marker of the season than Jussi Jokinen added an even-strength goal three minutes later to stake the Stars to a 2-0 edge.
But after posting a 4-6-1 mark in October (9pts.), the Devils' turnaround has now seen them pick off one of the NHL's hottest teams for an 8-4-1 record in November (18 pts.).
NJD NOTES Gionta is riding a five-game scoring streak that has seen him score four goals and four assists. He's now just one goal shy of the team lead... Zubrus added an assist on Clarkson's goal for his fifth multipoint effort of the season... John Madden had two assists to stretch his point streak to three games (4a)... Elias returned to the lineup after missing the last two games with the flu and assisted on Gionta's tally... Karel Rachunek was back after missing three games following the birth of his son... Andy Greene, Johnny Oduya and Mike Rupp were healthy scratches.
1 - 0 DAL
2 - 0 DAL
2 - 1 DAL
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 NJD