Martin Brodeur's 41 saves marked a season high and tied him with Evgeni Nabokov for the league wins lead.
newjerseydevils.com (March 4) – An offensive surge along with stellar goaltending from Martin Brodeur put the Devils back in the win column.
Zach Parise scored his team-leading 26th and 27th goals of the season and the Devils snapped a three-game winless skid with a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre.
Brodeur posted a season-high 41 saves to notch his 36th win and tie Evgeni Nabokov for the league lead. The Devils ended the Leafs' five-game point streak (4-0-1) by handing them just their second regulation loss in nine games.
Brodeur weathered a first period that saw the Devils outshot 14-5, and had to be sharp all night long as Toronto poured on 42 shots to New Jersey's 25.
Brian Gionta and David Clarkson also tallied for the Devils, who had scored just three times in regulation over their four previous contests. New Jersey has now won each of the last five games in which it has scored three or more goals.
The win kept the Devils (38-23-6) one point behind the Atlantic Division-leading Penguins, following their 2-0 win over Tampa. Sidney Crosby returned to the lineup for Pittsburgh, which moved into the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Devils return to the Garden State to host Tampa Bay Friday night, and can sweep the season series with the Leafs for the first time in a decade when the teams meet again in Toronto on Saturday.
Looking to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season, the Devils got off on the right foot with Parise's first-period goal.
Vesa Toskala misplayed a pass to Tomas Kaberle behind the Toronto net, and a forechecking Parise pounced. Parise spun and whipped a sharp-angle shot from the bottom of the right circle that beat Toskala inside the left post at 11:22.
Gionta used the power play to pad the Devils' lead in the second period.
The Devils winger made it 2-0 New Jersey when he slipped a Pavel Kubina check in the crease to put home the rebound of Sheldon Brookbank's point shot at 5:11.
Gionta's 19th of the season was his eighth on the man advantage and gave him three markers in his last four games. He now has six goals and six assists for 12 points over his last 16 contests.
Johnny Oduya netted the other helper for his fourth point (1g-3a) in eight games. The sophomore blueliner is currently second among Devils defensemen with 17 assists.
Late in the second, Nik Antropov countered to cut the lead in half.
After Brodeur blockered away a Mats Sundin slapper, Kaberle controlled and took the puck around the net for a shot from the right circle. Brodeur stopped Kaberle before Antropov, stationed near the top of the crease, chipped the rebound top shelf to make it 2-1 at 16:47.
Clarkson's first goal in 14 games would restore New Jersey's two-goal lead in the third period.
Oduya created a turnover with a heavy hit on Dominic Moore in the Devils' zone, allowing the Devils to turn the play up ice. Sergei Brylin carried through center ice, and dished to John Madden gliding on the left wing. Madden found Clarkson in the slot for the tap-in at 9:21.
Ninety seconds later, Parise nailed down his first two-goal game since Jan. 22.
Patrik Elias skated down the right side, eluding Antropov as he cut toward the middle of the ice. Elias looked off Kubina and snapped a pass to Parise at the right circle for the one-timer at 10:52.
Toronto had an opportunity to get back into the game on the power play after Clarkson was whistled for high sticking at 17:18. Sundin's third minor of the contest 1:23 later ended the man advantage.
NJD NOTES The Devils dodged a potential bullet in the third period when Kris Newbury put a stick into Brodeur's breadbasket on a rebound try. Newbury received two minutes for slashing, but Brookbank was slapped with four minutes for roughing in the ensuing scrum. New Jersey penalty killers fought off the two minute PP to protect what was a 2-1 lead at the time... Jamie Langenbrunner was credited with an assist on Parise's first goal, for his first point in four games... Paul Martin missed a second straight game with body soreness... Andy Greene and Vitaly Vishnevski were scratched... Rod Pelley, who was recalled from Lowell on Monday, did not play.