The Devils celebrate Friday after extending their winning streak to three games.
newjerseydevils.com – Snakebitten on the scoresheet just a few games ago, the Devils' offense now can hardly be contained.
Led by a shorthanded goal and an assist from Brian Gionta and a three-assist night from Zach Parise, the Devils thumped the New York Islanders by a 5-2 count Friday night at Prudential Center.
New Jersey buried four goals in the opening 40 minutes, including strikes by David Clarkson and Travis Zajac in a 10-second span of the first period, and matched a season high by winning their third straight.
Parise matched a season-high three-point night with three assists.
Kevin Weekes made 25 saves in his fifth start of the season, recording his second victory. The Devils climbed to within one win of the .500 mark (4-5) since losing Martin Brodeur to a torn bicep tendon on Nov. 1.
New Jersey posted back-to-back regulation wins for the first time since a five-game winning streak last season, when the club took four straight in regulation from Feb. 16 to Feb. 23.
The Devils dropped Florida, 3-1, Thursday in Newark and have further distanced themselves from the offensive woes that contributed to their four-game losing streak earlier this month.
A resurgent Elias has run wild with eight points (4g-4a) in four games and New Jersey has racked up 13 goals on its current streak. Gionta, meanwhile, has three goals in as many games for six points (3g-3a) in his last four.
Brent Sutter's team had mustered just five goals in four straight losses from Nov. 8 to Nov. 14.
"I thought we played a very complete game," the Devils' head coach said. "We played well. Our faceoffs, we did a lot of things right. We had times in the second period where certain things happened and we still held our composure tonight. We didn't get run out of position. We were solid, a very solid team tonight."
The Devils have gained valuable points in the standings by picking off clubs with losing records such as the Islanders, Thrashers, Stars and Panthers. They travel to Tampa Sunday and visit the Panthers Wednesday before a tough five-game stretch from Nov. 29 to Dec. 12 that features four divisional opponents.
Prudential Center will not host Devils hockey again until Dec. 10, when the Penguins come to Newark. The 18-day stretch between home games will be the longest within one season in Devils' history (excluding Olympic breaks), though the Devils did not play any home games for the first 23 days of their 2007-08 season (Oct. 4-26).
After killing off two New York power plays, the Devils took a 2-0 lead when Clarkson and Zajac scored 10 seconds apart in the final two minutes of the opening period.
Clarkson got his fifth of the season and first on the power play from the top of the crease, redirecting Johnny Oduya's blast from the point at 18:41.
New Jersey wasted little time before making it a two-goal cushion.
Zajac carried into Islanders' territory and left for Langenbrunner before driving to the net. Zajac put a backhand redirection on Langenbrunner's shot from the top of the right circle for his third and a 2-0 lead at 18:51.
Elias narrowly missed his fifth goal in four games at 16:39 of the first, when Isles' netminder Joey MacDonald charged out of the net to make a play on a Gionta break. MacDonald lost his stick, and the puck wound up on Elias' stick for a shot that was blocked by Trent Hunter as MacDonald scrambled back into position.
The teams traded goals in a 23-second span of the second period and Sean Bergenheim added one to bring New York within a goal at 3-2. Gionta would put in the Devils' first shorthanded tally of the season to put the game out of reach with 15.4 seconds left in the period.
Andy Hilbert's wrister from the left side boards surprised Weekes over his left shoulder to make the score 2-1 at 3:29 of the second.
Bryce Salvador quickly restored the two-goal edge with his first of the year – a slapshot from the left point that deflected off Chris Campoli and through MacDonald at 3:52.
The Islanders pulled within one when Andy Sutton's left-circle blast caught the right post and sat in front of the open right side, where Bergenheim tapped in his fourth at 13:04.
Ahead 3-2 with 2:07 left in the second, the Devils went on the penalty kill after Jay Pandolfo was called for interference.
Salvador had a decisive win over Jackman in the second period.
But on the ensuing PK, Gionta gained control and drew a delayed call on New York forward Jeff Tambellini in the neutral zone. The Devils maintained possession then pressured after Parise outraced Bruno Gervais down the left side for a shot on net.
Gionta swept in the loose puck for his third-career shorthanded goal.
"Well that's a huge play," Sutter said. "It's 3-2, and you start the period then (up) 4-2. To get up two goals like that was big."
Salvador put the finishing touches on the period in a fight with Tim Jackman, dropping the Islander with a series of rights then a right uppercut with 6.7 seconds left. Jackman left the ice bleeding and returned in the third sporting a stitched cut on his right cheek.
Paul Martin's second goal in as many games was the lone marker of the third period. Martin one-timed Langenbrunner's pass under the crossbar to close out the scoring on a Devils 5-on-3.
Mike Mottau was called for elbowing Frans Nielsen and was challenged by Hunter. Both players received fighting majors, and Hunter got extra for instigating.
NJD NOTES The Devils finished 2-for-5 on the power play... John Madden was out of Friday's lineup... Nicklas Bergfors returned to Lowell (AHL). The forward had one goal in eight appearances this season... Barry Tallackson (seven shifts, 4:14) made his season debut, and Petr Vrana (six shifts, 4:07) returned to the lineup.