newjerseydevils.com – The Devils' winless streak reached three games with Friday's 3-2 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Martin Havlat tied the game at 2 late in the second period, then set up Brent Seabrook's blast from the blueline that sealed it with 1:24 left in the extra session.
Havlat finished with a goal and two assists to lead the Blackhawks to their first win over the Devils since October 10, 1998, a span of 11 games.
Zach Parise notched his 42nd goal of the year and moved within six of Brian Gionta's club mark for goals in a season (48). With six shots in the game, Parise (326) surpassed John MacLean (322) to set a new single-season franchise shots record.
Paul Martin collected his fifth for the first-place Devils, who gained a point in the standings and extended their Atlantic Division lead to eight points over Philadelphia with eight games remaining.
New Jersey lost footing in the Eastern Conference, however, and slipped one point behind second-place Washington. The Capitals topped the Lightning on Friday.
Martin Brodeur had to be sharp to help the Devils escape the first period with a 2-1 lead despite facing five Chicago power plays. Brodeur stopped 19 of 20 shots in the opening frame and finished with 39 saves.
Brodeur made his fourth straight start and 13th overall since returning from elbow surgery on Feb. 26. Since taking eight of their first nine with him back in the lineup, the Devils have gone 1-3-1.
"I thought we did a lot of good things here tonight, but we shot ourselves in the foot," said head coach Brent Sutter, whose squad hosts Carolina on Saturday. "Our puck management intelligence wasn't great in areas that it needed to be. There were times we had pucks in their zone and we just directed it six feet out in front of the net instead of just throwing it on net."
Sutter was disappointed with how his team surrendered the lead, but gave high marks to his penalty killers. Martin had a team-high 6:20 of shorthanded ice time, while John Madden led all forwards with 5:10.
The Devils (47-23-4) killed five of six penalties in the game and lost for just the second time in 10 overtime decisions (8-2).
"We were just about 10 minutes shorthanded and they scored their one power-play goal late in the PK," Sutter said. "I looked up at the clock and we were at five penalties in the first 12 minutes of the game. It just seemed like it rolled over, but we did a good job. Our penalty killing was very good tonight. It did a great job – an outstanding job."
Havlat had the lone assist on Kris Versteeg's power-play goal that gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead at 5:51 of the first period. Only six seconds remained in Colin White's hooking minor.
Parise, the Devils' leading scorer, got his first goal in four games to knot the contest at 1, and Martin put New Jersey ahead on a hard-working tally with just 17.8 remaining in the first.
Parise snapped an off-wing shot from the right circle that deflected up off the stick of defenseman Aaron Johnson and over the left shoulder of Nikolai Khabibulin at 7:23. The Chicago netminder made 28 saves.
With his 89th point, Parise kept himself within striking distance of Patrik Elias' club single-season points mark (96).
Brodeur and the Devils dodged a bullet when Jonathan Toews shot from the left side caught the left post at 8:31.
Martin netted the go-ahead tally at 19:42 of the first. With a delayed penalty coming against Chicago, Martin pinched deep into Blackhawks territory. After swipes by Dainius Zubrus, then Gionta, Martin beat Khabibulin from the right side of the net for his first goal in 23 games.
Havlat tied it in the second period on a blast from the high slot through traffic with 5:37 left. The game headed to overtime following a scoreless third.
NJD NOTES The Devils fell to 25-3-3 when leading after one period. ... White (lower body soreness, four games missed) and Elias (lower body, one game) both returned to the Devils' lineup. ... Chicago had not defeated the Devils in over 10 years, a stretch of eight regulation losses, two overtime losses and one tie. ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, date-wise, Chicago’s winless stretch against New Jersey was the longest active by one NHL club against another. ... The Devils announced Friday that they will honor Martin Brodeur's record-setting 552nd win on Friday, April 3 when they host Tampa Bay at 7 p.m.