CHICAGO – The injury-depleted New Jersey Devils saw another star go down, but then got some long-awaited breaks in a much-needed win against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Rookie forward Bradley Mills scored his first NHL goal with 3:51 left to snap a tie and lift the Devils over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3 on Wednesday night.
New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur left the game in the second period because of a bruised right elbow. X-rays were negative, and Brodeur said he expects to play Friday night at home against the rival New York Rangers.
“It’s not pulled or torn,” Brodeur said. “I just banged it. From past experiences with bruises, usually it takes a couple of days to feel 100 per cent.
“We’ll see how this one reacts.”
With New Jersey leading 2-0 at 5:27 of the second period, the stick of Chicago forward Troy Brouwer appeared to hit the area around Brodeur’s blocker after he made a save against Patrick Kane.
Brodeur said Kane’s shot from a sharp angle caught him by surprise and struck him in the elbow.
“It was a shot from Kane in the corner,” Brodeur said. “I never saw it. The feeling was always there, I just lost strength.”
Brodeur removed the blocker, shook his arm and rotated his wrist as the trainer attended to him.
Play resumed, but Brodeur skated off the ice 21 seconds later following a stoppage and didn’t return. Brodeur stopped all eight shots he faced before he was replaced by Johan Hedberg, who turned aside 21 of 24 shots.
The Devils entered the game with seven points and moved out of last place in the NHL with the win. New Jersey went 2-4 on its six-game road trip.
“I though we played hard,” New Jersey coach John MacLean said. “When Marty went down, they got momentum, had a couple calls go their way for power plays.”
Brian Campbell and Fernando Pisani each scored their first goals of the season for Chicago, which rallied to tie it at 2 before dropping its second straight.
Mills, playing in his third NHL game for the Devils, put New Jersey ahead 3-2 when his attempt from the right side of the net struck the skate of goalie Marty Turco and deflected in. Turco stopped 19 shots.
“He (Mills) had some good jump,” MacLean said. “He skates well. It’s nice to see a guy like that get rewarded.”
Jamie Langenbrunner added an empty-net goal with 50 seconds left to make it 4-2. It stood up as the game-winner when Chicago’s Viktor Stalberg scored 16 seconds later to cut it to 4-3.
New Jersey’s Andy Greene added another empty-netter with eight seconds left.
Jason Arnott and Travis Zajac also scored for the Devils, who ended a two-game losing streak and won for only the second time in seven games.
Chicago (7-7-1) has lost three of four, and dropped to 4-5 at home.
“This is very comparable to the (other) games we lost,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “It’s 2-2 in the third. We’ve got to get it to overtime.
“We’ve got to manufacture points. When you do that, you can manufacture wins.”
The Devils played their second game without star forward Zach Parise, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus. He is expected to miss three months.
Entering the game, the Devils’ injury list included seven players. Besides Parise, forwards Jacob Josefson and Brian Rolston, and defenceman Mark Fraser are also recovering from surgery.
Arnott scored the only goal in the first period at 15:31. Dainius Zubrus forced Campbell to turn over the puck behind the net. Patrik Elias sent a quick pass to Arnott, who beat Turco from the slot.
Zajac made it 2-0 at 4:14 of the second, capitalizing on another Chicago turnover.
Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith couldn’t control the puck at the low edge of the left circle. The puck popped out to Zajac, who whipped in a shot from in front.
Campbell cut it to 2-1 with 3:58 left in the second. His centring pass from the left corner was intended for Pisani, but it deflected past Hedberg off the stick of New Jersey defencemanColin White.
Pisani tied it 2-2 on a power play at 3:42 of the third period.
After Hedberg made a pad save on Stalberg’s shot, Pisani tucked the rebound just inside the right post.
Notes: Chicago F Marian Hossa missed his fourth game with a shoulder injury. He’s expected to be sidelined another week. Blackhawks C Dave Bolland missed his third game because of an undisclosed upper body injury. … D Matthew Corrente (hand), D Anton Volchenkov (stiff neck) and D Bryce Salvador (concussion) were also out for New Jersey.