Vesa Toskala can only watch as Parise's 17th of the season drifts into the Toronto net.
newjerseydevils.com – It had been a while since these Devils dropped two in a row.
Looking to bounce back from Saturday's home loss to Buffalo, the Devils opened their two-game, two-night road trip with a 3-2 shootout defeat Tuesday in Toronto.
Jason Blake's spin-o-rama backhand strike in the fourth round was the deciding goal for the Maple Leafs, who have beaten the Devils twice this season via the shootout. Blake skated in on Scott Clemmensen before pulling up and spinning a backhander around Clemmensen's outstretched glove hand.
"Not much you can do as a goalie, he's coming one way and kind of backs into you," said Clemmensen, who lost for only the second time in his last 10 starts. "If you go to the other side, you can kind of throw your stick down, but that's about all you can do after he backs into you."
Jamie Langenbrunner's wrist shot past Vesa Toskala's catching glove was the lone shootout goal for New Jersey, which suffered consecutive setbacks for the first time since a four-game losing streak from Nov. 8 to Nov. 14.
They have gone 9-2-1 since then, picking up points in 10 of their last 12 games.
Brian Rolston was the final shooter, and had a chance to tie after Blake had put Toronto ahead. Rolston skated in on Toskala and fired a slapshot that caught the glass behind the net.
Jeremy Williams had Toronto's other shootout goal, snapping the puck over Clemmensen's catching glove in the third round. Zach Parise and Patrik Elias recorded the Devils' first two attempts.
Parise and Mike Rupp accounted for New Jersey's goals, and the club now moves on to Buffalo to complete their seventh back-to-back of the season Wednesday night.
Since their offense hit a high note with Friday's thrilling 8-5 win over the Rangers, the Devils (16-9-3) have scored twice in each of their last two contests. New Jersey did, however, move within one point of idle Pittsburgh for third place in the Atlantic Division.
Rupp's unassisted goal put the Devils on top just 1:49 into the contest. John Madden fed Colin White for a 2-on-1 redirection that Toskala stopped. Rupp intercepted Jeff Finger's clearing attempt before beating Toskala from the left circle for his third of the season.
Rupp, who was scratched from two straight games earlier this month, now has a goal and an assist in three games since returning to the lineup.
Toronto took the lead in the second period on goals from Williams and Nik Antropov.
Antropov made it 1-1 from the slot, sliding the rebound of Tomas Kaberle's shot from the point around Clemmensen's right pad at 7:24. It became 2-1 Leafs after Williams pulled a loose puck out of a battle between Madden and Kaberle along the left boards, and turned for a wrister from the left circle that beat Clemmensen at 15:06.
Clemmensen finished with 25 saves and slipped to 8-3-1.
Finger, whose turnover set up New Jersey's first goal, was called for tripping Brian Gionta with 1:24 left in the second period, and the Devils capitalized.
Parise was stationed at the right side of the net, where he took an Elias pass from the point and turned a shot on goal. The puck deflected up in the air off the stick of defenseman Mike Van Ryn and flopped over Toskala's right shoulder with 20 seconds left in the period.
Parise's 17th of the season and fifth on the power play are both team highs. Not yet halfway into his fourth NHL season, he needs six goals to reach 100 for his career.
Elias, meanwhile, recorded his 17th assist of the season to extend his points streak to seven games (5g-5a). Gionta's eight-game point streak (5g-6a) from Nov. 14 to Dec. 4 is the team's season high.
The Devils killed off one penalty in the scoreless third and were a perfect 2-for-2 versus the Leafs' power play.
New Jersey carried the play in the overtime session, edging Toronto five shots to three. Travis Zajac nearly iced the contest with two seconds left in the extra session.
Zajac collected a Toronto turnover in the New Jersey zone and raced up ice on a breakaway. Toskala got a left pad on Zajac's wrister with 2.1 seconds remaining in OT.
NJD NOTES Parise used a deke on his shootout try, but failed to get off a clean shot when Toskala poked at his stick. Elias curled wide to attack from the left side and shot across the grain to Toskala's stick side from the left hash marks... The Devils slipped to 3-2 in shootouts this season. Parise has two clinchers, and Langenbrunner has the other... D Andy Greene, who has missed 19 games with a broken hand, was activated from injured reserve Tuesday but did not play.
1 - 0 NJD
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 TOR