Rod Pelley (r.) cracked the scoresheet with his first of the season as the League-leading Devils won their fourth in a row.
As Saturday's storm dumped inches of snow on New Jersey, the Devils visited Atlanta and left the Thrashers out in the cold.
Dean McAmmond scored twice, including the eventual game-winner, as the Devils overcame a late Atlanta surge to post a 5-4 victory over the Thrashers on Saturday night.
New Jersey fell behind 3-1 in the first period but scored four straight goals en route to their fourth straight triumph, and eighth win in nine games. The Devils' (25-8-1) 51 points ties them with Pittsburgh for the League lead.
Though they trailed by two, the Devils never became discouraged.
"We recognized that we were doing the right things," McAmmond told MSG. "We were playing strongly, we just gave up some bad breaks and they got some good ones. We focused on just keeping the same pace; keep going at it; not giving them chances. Naturally, we found a way to put the puck in."
Just one game after setting the NHL record for most games played by a goaltender, Martin Brodeur's night ended early. In his 1,031st career appearance and 12th straight start, Brodeur allowed three goals on six Thrashers shots and was relieved by Yann Danis after the first period.
Danis, who last played on Nov. 21 at Dallas, recorded 19 saves on 20 shots for his third win of the season. It was the first time Brodeur had been relieved from a game since March 7 at Long Island.
When McAmmond's second of the night put the Devils ahead, 5-3, with 8:15 left in the third, it looked as though New Jersey might cruise the rest of the way. The Devils had fired 24 shots on Ondrej Pavelec in the first period alone, and dominated long stretches of the contest.
But with Patrik Elias off for high-sticking, Slava Kozlov's power-play blast from the top of the right circle cut the Devils' lead to 5-4 with 3:56 left in regulation. Atlanta pulled Pavelec for the extra skater, and the Devils were able to fend off 1:18 of a 6-on-5 attack for their first win of the season against the Thrashers (1-1).
McAmmond, who began the season in Lowell, has seen his role grow under head coach Jacques Lemaire. A veteran of 949 NHL games, McAmmond had four shots in 16:13 of ice time on Saturday.
"(Devils GM Lou Lamoriello) felt like he needed a little bit more depth, that's why he called me in October," McAmmond, 36, said. "That's why I went to Lowell (AHL) and spent some time there getting in shape. I just wanted to make sure that it was a good situation for myself and my family. Lou's been very accepting of me here and I've been enjoying it. I'm just taking the approach to have fun and enjoy the last few years of my career."
After receiving key tallies from Jay Pandolfo and Bryce Salvador in Friday's 4-2 win over Ottawa, some more unsung heroes came to the rescue for the Devils in Atlanta. Rob Niedermayer and Rod Pelley, known more for their checking skills, each scored as the Devils matched a season high with 42 shots on goal.
Brian Rolston's 13th of the season was his second marker in as many nights and extended his points streak to five games (3g-3a-6pts).
Devils' leading scorer Zach Parise went without a goal for the 10th straight game, but assisted on both of McAmmond's goals, including his power-play strike in the second. The Devils head for Pittsburgh to face the Penguins on Monday and visit Washington on Saturday.
Niedermayer's fifth answered Ron Hainsey's goal in the first period to tie the game at 1-1. Niedermayer carried in one-on-one to the right circle against Zach Bogosian, and snapped his first goal in five games past Pavelec, who finished with 37 saves.
Atlanta netted the next two, and carried a 3-1 lead into the second period.
Ilya Kovalchuk's two-zone pass set up Nik Antropov's breakaway goal at 14:30 of the first period, and Pavel Kubina's one-timer from the left circle at 17:14 put the Thrashers ahead by a pair.
Rolston began the Devils' rally, scoring on a breakaway 2:46 into the middle frame. He raced in alone and backhanded the puck between Pavelec's pads to trim the deficit to a goal.
McAmmond then tied it, 3-3, on the power play, banging in an Andy Greene rebound from the slot for his second of the season at 6:12. Pelley handed the Devils a 4-3 lead with his first of the campaign, a 60-foot blast from above the left circle at 10:04.
In the third, McAmmond stripped the puck from Kovalchuk along the boards and got it back from Elias on a 2-on-1 for his second of the night at 11:45 of the final frame.
Elias' assist extended his points streak to seven games (4g-4a-8pts). … Andrew Peters was back in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 2. He registered one shot in 5:05 of ice time. … Ilkka Pikkarainen was scratched for the first time in 11 games. … Pelley scored his last goal on Nov. 23, 2007 at Atlanta, a span of 66 games.
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