Zubrus' PPG put Devils within a goal in the second.
Milan Michalek and Jarkko Ruutu scored 2:16 apart midway through the second, spoiling Martin Brodeur's return to New Jersey's lineup in the Ottawa Senators' 3-2 victory over the Devils on Friday night.
Erik Karlsson had a goal and an assist and Pascal Leclaire stopped 29 shots for Ottawa.
Brodeur made 26 saves in his first appearance in nine games following a right elbow injury as the Devils' losing streak stretched to four in a row. The NHL's career victories and shutouts leader, Brodeur also drew his 35th career assist on Patrik Elias' power-play goal 4:46 into the second which tied it at 1.
Dainius Zubrus scored New Jersey's second power-play goal later in the second to draw the Devils within one. Ilya Kovalchuk assisted on both goals.
New Jersey had a possible tying goal by David Clarkson disallowed with 3:36 remaining in the third. The puck went in off Clarkson's left skate and referee Brad Watson immediately waved it off, a call that was upheld by a video review.
"I thought it had to be a kicking motion," Clarkson said. “I guess he said the NHL reviewed it and made that call, was his answer to us. He had to call it because it did go off my skate when I shot it. I’m not sure. That’s just the way it’s been for us this year. Can’t get a break."
Clarkson, who was bidding for his fifth goal of the season, did not think a kicking motion was possible.
"Well no because my skate was stuck still," he said. "For me to kick the puck I would’ve had to lift my skate off the ice. It’s kind of hard to kick the puck when you’re stuck like that."
John MacLean was frustrated by the non-goal. His team has dropped seven straight on the road.
"Doesn’t really matter," said the Devils' head coach. "They look at it in Toronto and I guess they deemed it a kicking motion. That’s what you go with. For me to argue with it, it’s not going to change it one way or the other."
It was tough to discern if Clarkson got his stick on the puck after it went off his skate.
"I thought he did, but you can’t tell," MacLean said. "But I didn’t think it was a kicking motion either, so it’s frustrating. It would’ve been a big goal to get another one on the power play and tie it up, but unfortunately it didn’t happen."
New Jersey (8-18-2) has dropped four in a row despite going 5-for-10 on the power play during their three-game trip. They open a three-game homestand Saturday night versus Detroit.
The Senators, who ended a two-game losing streak, won for just the fourth time in their last 14 games (4-9-1).
Michalek gave Ottawa its second one-goal lead 9:39 into the second. The Czech left wing back-handed a rebound past Brodeur for his sixth goal to make it 2-1.
Ruutu increased the lead to 3-1 at 11:55 when he banked a shot from behind the goal line off Brodeur and into the net for his second goal of the season.
Karlsson, who assisted on Michalek's goal, opened the scoring with an unassisted goal 15:30 in. The Ottawa defenseman's drive from the right point found its way through traffic and into the right side of the net.
Elias tied it at 1 with a power-play goal 4:46 into the second on a shot that Leclaire would surely like to replay. Brodeur began the play by playing the puck to Kovalchuk, who fed a pass to Elias. The veteran left wing's long shot struck Leclaire and popped up before bouncing behind the Senators' goalie into the net.
Zubrus got his fourth goal at 14:10. Travis Zajac fed a pass to Zubrus, who one-timed a drive past Leclaire to cut the lead to one.
Kovalchuk got his second point of the game, only his 13th in 27 games, with an assist on the play.
Materials from the Associated Press and MSG Networks were used in this report.
NOTES: Brodeur's assist was his first of the season, and his 36th regular season point, including a goal. Tom Barrasso holds the NHL records for assists and points by a goalie with 48 assists, two more than Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr. ... Devils D Anton Volchenkov was given a warm reception when clips of some of his biggest hits with Ottawa were played on the video board during the first period. The former Senators defenseman waved to the crowd of 16,471.
1 - 0 OTT
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 OTT