Shanahan collects the puck for the second-period penalty shot that sparked the Devils' rally.
newjerseydevils.com – It was as strange a game as the Devils have played all season, but it produced their most stirring rally of the year and possibly their most critical victory.
Trailing 2-0 late in the second period against visiting Tampa Bay, the Devils roared back with three straight goals – including Brendan Shanahan's successful penalty shot – before Zach Parise's 43rd of the season clinched a 5-4 overtime win against the Lightning.
Parise banged home Travis Zajac's pass on a 2-on-1 just 1:21 into the extra session, snapping the Devils' season-high six-game winless skid and securing their 12th win in 13 games on home ice.
Jamie Langenbrunner had two goals and an assist, and Shanahan registered the Devils' first successful penalty shot in more than three years. Parise added two assists and tied a club record with his 26th multipoint game of the season.
Jay Pandolfo, who filled in for the injured Patrik Elias, also scored, snapping a 21-game goal drought. Elias (lower body) missed his second straight game.
Martin Brodeur, who had been given the night off, was called into duty when Kevin Weekes left 57 seconds into the second period with a knee injury.
Brodeur was honored before the game for his record-setting 552nd victory, and stopped seven of 10 Tampa shots to nail down career win No. 554.
"It's huge," Brodeur said of the win. "Not that it was pretty out there, but I think we did a lot of good things. Winning gets contagious at one point, but losing does too. We were at a point where any win would be good and today was a great effort. We pulled it off and we can we have smiles on our faces – it's been a while."
Weekes went down after a save on Evgeny Artyukhin's shot from the left circle. He remained on his stomach until he was attended to by Devils trainers, and was helped off the ice by Mike Mottau and Dainius Zubrus.
Brodeur made his first relief appearance in more than 11 years.
"When Weekes went down, I was thinking our backup's a pretty good goalie," Shanahan joked, before turning serious. "You're concerned about Kevin. When you get off the ice and need to be helped off like that, you're always concerned for a guy. I see all these things that are happening to us in the last couple weeks of the season as tests. You have to see tests as opportunities; not feel sorry for yourself and keep moving forward. "
For all of the game's twists and turns – after climbing out of the two-goal hole, New Jersey wasted leads of 3-2 and 4-3 – Friday's win couldn't have come at a better time.
"It wasn't going to be easy; it couldn't be," Shanahan said. "To get away from a six-game losing streak – we went into the third period up 3-2, and you just had a feeling it wasn't going to be 4-2, 5-2, 6-2. It was going to be one of those that you were going to have to earn."
New Jersey protected its six-point divisional lead over second-place Philadelphia and moved within two points of Washington for second in the Eastern Conference. With four games remaining, Jersey's Team travels to Buffalo to face the Sabres on Saturday.
Behind by a pair on goals by Artyukhin and Steven Stamkos, the Devils got on the board thanks to Shanahan's tally at 13:05 of the second.
Shanahan was awarded the penalty shot after Karri Ramo was caught out of position on an errant Devils dump-in and reacted by tossing his stick through the crease to try and save a goal. Shanahan, who was on the ice at the time, moved in and snapped the puck through the pads of Ramo, who finished with 34 saves.
"We worked hard, we said the right things and did the right things in preparation," Shanahan said. "Then we find ourselves down 2-0 and we're just wondering when that dark cloud's going to go away. Once we got a little bit of life, suddenly we had a whole bunch of life."
The 11th-leading goal scorer in NHL history said he didn't go into it with a plan.
"I didn't really have a book on [Ramo]," Shanahan said. "All I thought about was coming up the ice with good speed and trying to let instinct take over and not make up my mind before I saw what he was going to show me. He showed me a little five-hole, so I took it."
Shanahan celebrates after scoring Friday.
Shanahan's sixth of the season and 656th of his career turned out to be just what the Devils needed.
"Shanny's goal really got us going," Langenbrunner said. "It really took a weight off our shoulders. The excitement on the bench was really evident after that goal. From that point on, we really played well."
Pandolfo tied the contest 1:45 later. The veteran forward collected Langenbrunner's chip pass in the neutral zone, and raced in for a wrister over Ramo's glove at 14:50.
Pandolfo's fifth of the season snapped a 21-game goal drought and paved the way for Langenbrunner's go-ahead tally on the power play.
Langenbrunner notched his 26th of the season, fifth on the man advantage, on a blast from the left side that found an opening through Ramo's blocker side at 18:29. The captain's second goal in his last nine contests gave New Jersey a 3-2 lead heading into the third.
Ryan Malone's breakaway goal 2:41 into the final frame tied the game again, and Langenbrunner answered with his 27th on a Parise rebound to put the Devils ahead 4-3. Martins Karsums' first of the year off Lucas Krajicek's rebound knotted the contest at 4 with 5:54 left in regulation.
The Lightning were off-balance in overtime after defenseman Matt Smaby broke his stick and stayed out using the stick of Malone. Zajac's cross-slot feed past Smaby reached Parise for the deciding goal.
"We played hard," Parise said. "I think you saw us generating some chances that we haven't seen in a while."
With 43 goals, Parise tied Alexander Mogilny for fourth on the Devils' single-season list. Brian Gionta set the franchise record with 48 in 2005-06, followed by Pat Verbeek (46, 1987-88) and John MacLean (45, 1990-91).
NJD NOTES Martin Brodeur enjoyed the pregame ceremony for his 552nd win. He was joined on the ice by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Devils' Co-Owners Jeff Vanderbeek and Michael Gilfillan.
"It was awesome," Brodeur said. "What everybody did for me was appreciated. It was simple and it was tasteful and that's what I expected from this organization and this League."
Jamie Langenbrunner on Kevin Weekes' injury: "He's battled all year and been a great teammate all year, and you hate to see it," Langenbrunner said. "Knowing him he'll get himself back here as soon as possible."
Friday's contest was Langenbrunner's fifth two-goal game of the season and third three-point outing.
Brodeur in relief Brodeur had previously seen action in 11 regular-season relief games, most recently March 20, 1998 at Washington. Brodeur played 29:39 (1 GA, 7 SOG) in relief of Mike Dunham. The Devils were defeated 2-0, with Dunham taking the loss.
On the farm If Weekes' injury forces him to the shelf, the Devils will likely look to Lowell for help. Jeff Frazee has handled the bulk of the goaltending duties for the Devils' AHL affiliate. New Jersey's second round pick, 38th overall, in 2005, Frazee is 26-19-6 this season with a 2.55 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and four shutouts. Scott Clemmensen, who won 25 games for New Jersey while Brodeur recovered from injury, is 6-4-1 for Lowell, with a 3.40 GAA and .896 save percentage.
Arron Asham had the Devils' last penalty shot attempt, but was stopped by Buffalo's Ryan Miller on Dec. 28, 2007. ... Shanahan's was the Devils' first successful penalty shot since Scott Gomez beat Ed Belfour on Dec. 31, 2005. Just before he was awarded the shot, he had hit the right post during a Devils power play. Ramo swiped the puck away with his catching glove, and a video review wasn't enough to overturn the call on the ice of no goal. ... The Devils have won six straight games in which they've scored three or more goals and have dropped nine in a row when scoring two goals or less. ... The Lightning were without Vincent Lecavalier, who underwent wrist surgery on Friday and will miss the rest of the season.
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Martin St. Louis
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