Zach Parise's 19th of the season gave the sellout crowd of 17,625 at Prudential Center something to cheer about.
newjerseydevils.com (Feb. 1) – Five games have been settled between the Devils and New York Rangers, and New Jersey is still looking for its first victory against its cross-river rivals.
Chris Drury scored twice, including an empty-netter, and Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves for the Rangers, as the Devils fell, 3-1, at Prudential Center on Friday night.
Zach Parise notched the only goal for the Devils, who remained winless in the season series with the Rangers (0-3-2) with their third straight loss in Newark.
Martin Brodeur registered 23 saves, but suffered a third straight defeat for the first time since losing three in a row from Nov. 10 to Nov. 16.
Brodeur has limited New York to two goals or less four times this season, including 65 minutes of shutout hockey in a 1-0 shootout loss on Dec. 9 at Madison Square Garden.
The reigning Vezina Trophy winner has received little in the way of support, however, as New Jersey has averaged 0.8 goals per game this year against the Rangers.
The Devils sit two points out of the Atlantic Division top spot held by Philadelphia, but see their third-place lead over the Rangers trimmed to one.
An unwelcome dry spell on offense continues to linger for the Devils, who have been held to a goal three times in their last five losses at Prudential Center.
New Jersey (28-20-3) has one win in its last six games on home ice.
The club will try to avoid losing four straight in regulation for the first time this season when it closes out its ninth back-to-back Saturday night against Los Angeles. The five-game homestand wraps up versus Pittsburgh on Monday.
"We didn't score enough goals," head coach Brent Sutter said. "When you score only one it's difficult to win a game. I thought we did a lot of good things in our own zone. It was probably one of the better games we've had in the past five or six."
Lundqvist, who was named the game's first star, was largely the difference. The Devils outshot the Rangers 34-26, after opening with a 15-9 edge in the first period.
New Jersey failed to connect for a goal in the game's first 20 minutes, however, and allowed New York to break through first.
Brandon Dubinsky intercepted an errant Colin White pass through the neutral zone, and skated up ice. Dubinsky hit the top of the left circle and beat Brodeur with a slapshot 4:00 into the contest.
Drury put New York up 2-0 with his 14th of the season, a power-play tally early in the second.
With White serving two minutes for slashing Dubinsky, Drury appeared to use Dan Girardi as a decoy in front of the net to spin a no-look shot through Brodeur's pads from the left of the net at 2:06.
Devils penalty killers have given up a goal in four straight games (6-for-22), after allowing just two goals in 14 games from Dec. 18 to Jan. 20 (2-for-44).
Parise, who had started the game with a handful of high-energy shifts, finally put the Devils on the board with a nifty second effort.
A delayed penalty call against the Rangers allowed Brodeur to head for the bench for John Madden. The Devils took control with the 6-on-5 advantage.
Jamie Langenbrunner fed a streaking Parise at the left circle for a redirection that Lundqvist deflected away. But Parise sent the puck back toward the front of the goal and off Lundqvist's stick side for his third goal in the last 13 games at 5:48 of the second period.
Parise nearly tied things up with 38 seconds left in the third, when he skated out of the corner to put a backhander on goal that was stopped by Lundqvist.
Drury added his empty-net goal on the power play with 3.7 remaining in regulation.
The Devils and Rangers faceoff again on March 19 in New Jersey, followed by a meeting at MSG on March 27. The two teams close out the season series on April 6 at Prudential Center.
The Devils had not lost a season series to the Rangers since 1996-97, when they finished 1-2-2... New Jersey had only one power play in the game. Scott Gomez was whistled for hooking at 10:24 of the second period... Friday's scratches were Sheldon Brookbank and Andy Greene... Cam Janssen (shoulder) and Jay Pandolfo (groin) remain on the shelf.
ETC... Parise helped lead the charge with some physical play in the first period. Parise shouldered Michal Rozsival at the Devils bench at 9:02, then put Rozsival on his back in the New York zone when the Rangers' defenseman skated into the corner to retrieve a Devils dump-in... Tempers flared briefly between Vitaly Vishnevski and Ryan Hollweg in front of the Devils' net as time expired in the second period. Each received two minutes for roughing at 20:00.
1 - 0 NYR
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