Zach Parise and Brian Gionta scored in the shootout to lead the Devils to a 2-1 victory over the reeling Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night. While Parise and Gionta netted shootout goals, and Martin Brodeur turned away Rene Bourque and Mikael Holmqvist to give the Devils their second straight shootout victory and send the Blackhawks to an eighth consecutive loss.
Mike Rupp scored in regulation for the Devils, who have won three in a row for the first time this season and five of six despite scoring only 10 actual goals.
“If we can start hitting the net a little more with guys going to the front, hopefully some pucks will start going in,” Devils coach Claude Julien said. “Then we won’t have to go to shootouts.”
Until the goals start flowing, the Devils will look to Brodeur to carry them. He made 23 saves through overtime and two more in the shootout.
“We have three wins for the first time this year and hopefully we can keep it going,” Brodeur said.
Tuomo Ruutu had the lone tally for the Blackhawks, who took positives out of the game despite the mounting losses.
“There were a lot of good things out there,” coach Trent Yawney said. “Once we got our legs under us after the first period, we played pretty solid against a real good team.”
New Jersey took a 1-0 lead just 2:31 in with the benefit of a lucky carom. Johnny Oduya fired a shot down the left boards, and goalie Brian Boucher – anticipating the puck’s arrival – went behind his net.
The puck never reached the goalie because it hit a spot on the corner boards and bounded right to Rupp for an easy goal into the empty net.
Boucher was almost victimized again on a similar play but managed to scramble back into position to knock aside Patrik Elias’ shot that would have given the Devils a two-goal lead.
“They got a lucky first goal, and Brian battled back with some big saves after that,” Yawney said. “That’s the way it’s going to have to be for our goaltending here on in.”
The Blackhawks got even at 8:55 when Ruutu fired a shot from above the left circle that glanced off Devils defeneman Colin White.
Chicago outshot New Jersey 10-8 in the scoreless second period as both teams had several good scoring chances. Parise and Elias missed from the slot for the Devils, and Radim Vrbata had two late power-play chances for the Blackhawks.
In the third, the Devils outshot the Blackhawks 9-4 but couldn’t solve Boucher despite slot chances from Gionta and Travis Zajac.
Notes: The Blackhawks, who had six days off before playing the Devils, kicked off a stretch of three games in four nights. They host the St. Louis Blues on Friday and the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. … Devils D David Hale was sent to Lowell of the AHL on a conditioning assignment. Hale has not played this season while recovering from eye surgery. … Blackhawks G Nikolai Khabibulin missed a sixth straight game with a broken finger. Chicago LW Martin Havlat missed his seventh consecutive due to an ankle sprain. … The Devils for 0-for-8 on the power play. The Blackhawks failed on four attempts and have gone six games without a man-advantage goal.