John Madden's 16th of the season gave the Devils a 2-1 lead in the second period.
newjerseydevils.com (Feb. 20) – The Devils continue to keep pace with the Eastern Conference elite.
New Jersey got a goal and an assist from Sergei Brylin and 30 saves from Martin Brodeur to post a 3-2 decision over visiting San Jose on Wednesday night.
Patrik Elias collected a pair of assists for the Devils who won their third in a row to take a two-point lead on idle Pittsburgh and move back into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division.
Zach Parise and John Madden also scored as New Jersey got three goals in the second period and rejoined Ottawa and Montreal in a three-way tie atop the East.
The Devils (35-21-5) improved to 7-2-2 in February with their sixth win at Prudential Center this month. The club closes out the three-game homestand with a matinee against the Islanders on Saturday before heading out on the road for eight of its next 10.
Brodeur grabbed his league-leading 33rd win.
After the game, head coach Brent Sutter said he had been concerned about a possible dip in intensity from his group, which was playing its fifth game in eight nights.
"You don't know how much gas you're going to have in the tank," Sutter said. "We found a way. Marty made some big saves for us and we gave ourselves a chance to win. We were down one, and battled hard to get a lead."
Brodeur (33-19-4) extended his wins lead over Evgeni Nabokov, who did not play, and recorded career victory No. 527. Two wins separate Brodeur and Nabokov for the NHL lead.
Brodeur has just one regulation loss in his last 10 starts (7-1-2) and needs 24 wins to tie Patrick Roy for the all-time record of 551.
A pair of goalie miscues factored into the first two goals of the second period.
Jonathan Cheechoo struck to make it 1-0 with his 16th of the season on San Jose's second power play of the evening. Vitaly Vishnevski's interference penalty at 18:39 of the first period carried over into the start of the second, and the Sharks capitalized.
Patrick Marleau's shot from the top of the right circle went wide of the net and caromed off the end boards behind Brodeur. Cheechoo was stationed at the top of the crease, and as Brodeur turned to his left to play the bounce, Cheechoo reached over Brodeur's stick for the tap-in at 0:35.
Parise responded for the Devils, poking his team-leading 24th of the season through Thomas Greiss when the rookie netminder scrambled out in front of his net to play a loose puck.
Parise's tally from Jamie Langenbrunner and Elias extended his goal streak to four games and gave him points in five straight (4g-1a-5pts).
Madden put the Devils ahead with his 16th from Brylin and Paul Martin. Martin started the play with a dump-in and bumped Douglas Murray off the puck behind the net, allowing Brylin to control.
Brylin moved it to Madden, who folded in a wraparound from the right side of the goal at 16:56.
The score didn't remain 2-1 for long. A minute and 10 seconds later, Brylin buried a Jay Pandolfo pass for his sixth goal of the season and first in nine games.
Elias, who now has eight assists in his last six games, carried into Sharks' territory and dished to Pandolfo near the left point. Pandolfo sent a cross-ice pass toward Brylin, whose wrister from the slot went off of Greiss' arm and into the net at 18:06.
Pandolfo's primary assist on the play was his 200th career point.
Kyle McLaren's blast from the top of the left circle at 13:54 made it 3-2, and Sutter immediately used his timeout.
"We were still leading in the game, but had to get back to doing the details correctly – staying on the right side of our men, moving the pucks smartly in our zone," Sutter said. "Everything we talk about, we got a little bit away from it. The message was the things we [normally] talk about."
The Devils regrouped and fended off the Sharks' attack. San Jose pulled Greiss with 1:11 remaining in regulation, but could not beat Brodeur.
NJD NOTES The Devils did not score with the man advantage, and saw their streak of games with a power play goal end at three. New Jersey had just one chance all night, following Joe Thornton's interference minor at 10:36 of the third period... Martin and Johnny Oduya each finished with a plus-1 rating, improving their team-leading plus/minus ratings to plus-19... New Jersey leads the all-time series with San Jose 14-8-2, including a 8-4-1 mark in their previous 13 home games... Colin White did not play, and is listed as day-to-day with upper body soreness... Karel Rachunek was a scratch.