Parise became the first Devil to record four straight 30-goal seasons.
The Devils’ road trip hit a bump Friday night in western Canada.
Trying to build off of Tuesday’s solid win in San Jose, the Devils allowed five straight goals in a 5-3 loss to the Calgary Flames. It was their first time facing former coach Brent Sutter, who departed for Calgary last summer after two seasons in New Jersey.
Despite the defeat, the contest featured a special milestone for Zach Parise, who scored twice to reach 30 goals. In only his fifth season, Parise became the first player in franchise history to hit the 30-goal plateau in four straight years.
Parise’s 29th had the Devils ahead 1-0 after one, but Curtis Glencross scored shorthanded to break a 1-1 tie in the Flames’ three-goal second period. Calgary added two more in the third to make it 5-1 before New Jersey narrowed the gap.
Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk struck 1:08 apart in the final four minutes of regulation, when the Devils closed back to within two goals. For Kovalchuk, the goal was his 34th of the season, and third as a Devil.
Martin Brodeur, who posted 20 saves, came off for the extra skater with just under two minutes to go, but had to return to the crease after a puck found the netting behind the Devils’ zone with 1:11 remaining. He came off again in the final minute, but New Jersey could not connect on the 6-on-5 advantage.
Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 22 shots for his first career win against New Jersey (1-3-1). The Devils suffered their first loss at the Saddledome since March 5, 2003, and missed an opportunity to retake the Atlantic Division top spot. Pittsburgh holds a one-point division lead with a game in hand.
“It’s a game that we knew how (Calgary) would play,” Jacques Lemaire said. “This is their game. It’s a hard-working team, and you have to work harder. That’s all.”
Asked if his team had simply gotten a bad game out of its system, Lemaire added: “I wouldn’t say a bad game, but let’s say we can play a lot better.”
The Devils conclude their three-game trip in Edmonton on Sunday. They return to host the New York Rangers on Wednesday and the Penguins on Friday. By the time the puck drops at the Rock on Wednesday, Lemaire's squad will have gone 26 days since their last home game.
Parise’s 29th opened the scoring in the first. Andy Greene intercepted Jay Bouwmeester’s pass inside the Calgary blueline and put the puck toward the net. Travis Zajac took the carom off the end boards and flipped between his legs for Parise near the bottom of the left circle at 13:37.
The goal extended Parise’s points scoring streak to four games (4g-3a). Zajac, who played in his 300th straight game, added two assists and now has points in six straight (3g-6a).
Daymond Langkow tied the game 1:43 into the second period with his 12th. Chris Higgins brought the puck behind the Devils net and centered for Langkow, who spun a backhander underneath Brodeur from the slot.
Calgary then went ahead, 2-1, courtesy of the shorthanded goal by Glencross. He stripped Kovalchuk at the left point and raced in on a breakaway before depositing the puck over Brodeur’s catching glove at 5:41. It was only the second shorthanded goal allowed by the Devils this season on the road.
David Clarkson dropped the gloves for his first fights since returning Tuesday from injury. The rough-and-tumble right wing earned a takedown of Jamal Mayers at 9:10 of the second, then battled Mayers again midway through the third. Both bouts were evenly matched.
Eric Nystrom put the Flames ahead by two with 3:56 to go in the second. He got his seventh of the season by picking off a Greene pass along the left boards and driving to the net. Nystrom finished it by slipping a backhander past an outstretched Brodeur to make it 3-1.
Matt Stajan and David Moss added Calgary goals 33 seconds apart in the third. Stajan swatted home a bouncing Rene Bourque rebound for his 19th at 9:29. Moss used one hand to slide a Niklas Hagman rebound inside the left post at 10:02.
But the Devils didn’t let up.
Parise used a Devils power play to get it to 5-2. He fed Jamie Langenbrunner for a blast from the slot, then poked the loose puck over the line after it had trickled through Kiprusoff.
Langenbrunner’s assist gave him points in four straight (1g-5a).
Patrik Elias carried into Calgary territory to set up Kovalchuk’s tally, a rocket from the left circle that sneaked through Kiprusoff and over the line with 2:34 to go. Kovalchuk has collected three goals and three assists during his current four-game points streak.
NJD Notes Defenseman Martin Skoula, acquired from Toronto at Wednesday’s trading deadline, was not in the lineup. Andrew Peters and Rod Pelley were scratched.
Said Lemaire of Skoula: “We’ll see how his shape is and make a decision there.”
1 - 0 NJD
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 CGY
3 - 1 CGY
4 - 1 CGY