Brodeur was outstanding with 35 saves, including 16 in a third period that saw the Devils outshot, 17-3. In his first shootout of the season, he improved his career mark to 36-19.
"He was our best player," coach Peter DeBoer said. "You know what? We needed him to be. When you look at the schedule of teams, this looks like a kind of trap game. You are coming off a long road trip, traveling, getting in very late from Florida. Everybody knows that you are going to have some energy issues tonight. We needed our goaltender to be our best player and he was."
New Jersey let a third period lead get away for the second straight game, this time when Jared Boll tied the contest, 1-1, at 6:01. But the shootout has become the Devils' time to shine.
"It's a big two points," said DeBoer, whose club is 5-1 in shootouts. "I think the third period is a result of some fatigue and us running out of some gas. I don't chalk this third period up to anything other than that, and you have to give them some credit. We had a desperate team that's pouring it on, and we found a way to get two points. That's a good thing."
He was our best player. You know what? We needed him to be. When you look at the schedule of teams, this looks like a kind of trap game. You are coming off a long road trip, traveling, getting in very late from Florida. Everybody knows that you are going to have some energy issues tonight. We needed our goaltender to be our best player and he was.- Coach Peter DeBoer on Martin Brodeur
Kovalchuk went first, snapping a forehand shot past Curtis Sanford, who finished with 23 saves.
"I just closed my eyes and shoot," Kovalchuk joked.
Next, Brodeur snagged a Nash wrister with his catching glove. Parise deked Sanford and roofed a backhander.
"I do my homework on everybody," Brodeur said. "The angle that [Nash] was coming, I figured there were two moves he could have made and I guessed right, I guess."
Brodeur denied Letestu to seal his fifth win of the year.
"It's a good win," Brodeur said. "For me, getting in a shootout like that, it's definitely new, but I expect that. All the games are tight. It's going to happen, then you need to perform well when it happens. I think this year, we've got our share of success so far."
The Devils (11-8-1) rebounded from Monday's loss to Florida in which they blew a 3-0 lead.
"Especially with what happened last game, we wanted a bounce back game," Brodeur said. "We played well through the first two, again in the third, we gave up a little too much and were able to survive and got a big point out of the shootout."
So far, Kovalchuk (4-for-4) and Parise (5-for-6) have been lethal.
"I think if I do them the right way, and time it right, I think they're pretty tough to stop," Parise said. "Right now, the timing's right. The timing's been good. It's kind of nice going second, I can watch a little bit. I was able to watch when Kovy came in and watch the replay and see what their goalie's doing on them."
Zubrus was honored for his 1,000th NHL game, and received a watch from his teammates. (Getty/NHL Images)
Dainius Zubrus, who was honored in a pregame ceremony for his 1,000th NHL appearance on Nov. 16, had the Devils' goal. With seven tallies, Zubrus is tied with David Clarkson, one behind Patrik Elias for the team lead.
The Devils' top-ranked penalty kill was perfect on six chances, including three straight and 21 seconds of a 3-on-5 early in the third. They have not allowed a power-play goal at home this season (36-for-36).
"I think we got a little bit on our heels when we got into penalty trouble, but we were able to kill those off," Zubrus said. "Our own power play (0-for-3) wasn't as good as we needed it to be again."
Zubrus gave the Devils a 1-0 lead at 4:09 of the second period, banging home an Adam Larsson rebound. That followed Brodeur breaking up a Columbus 2-on-0 with Nash and Vinny Prospal at 3:40.
"A lot of guys made nice plays for that goal to develop," Zubrus said. "Petr [Sykora] going wide, putting the puck in the pads, which was a smart play because we didn't have much more than that. Patrik driving the net, picked up the puck, went to Lars and he shot it on net, and I was able to pick up the rebound."
Brodeur made a terrific play with 7:15 left in the second to protect the lead, poke checking the puck away from Derek Dorsett, who got in alone after beating Andy Greene wide.
Boll's first of the year knotted the game at 1 in the third. Marc Methot's shot caromed in off Boll in front, and the goal was allowed to stand after a video review determined no distinct kicking motion.
Mattias Tedenby had an active first period, using his quickness to draw two Devils power plays. Though they didn't convert in the opening frame, five of their 11 first-period shots came with the man advantage.
Sanford did his part on the Columbus kill, robbing Parise's doorstep redirection of an Elias pass with 7:41 remaining in the first.
Notes and quotes
Zubrus received a painting and a framed "1000" jersey. His teammates chipped in for a Breitling watch. Chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee Jim Gregory was on hand, as was Devils Chairman and Managing Partner Jeff Vanderbeek.
"It was nice, unexpected," Zubrus said of the ceremony. "My family's here, my mom's here, my dad couldn't make it, my wife's here, my son Thomas and my daughter Emma. Everybody's there cheering for me. It's a special night, and I'm sure they'll remember it a long time."
• The Devils open a home-and-home with the Islanders starting with a 3 p.m. puck drop at Nassau Coliseum on Friday. The teams square off again Saturday in Newark at 1 p.m.
"It's a big two games," Brodeur said. "Back-to-back games are always tough but I think we could get a lot of momentum off of them. For us, it's a rivalry. It's always tough games to play against these guys and we're definitely looking forward to two matinee games. It'll be fun."
1 - 0 NJD