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Brett Lebda scores late winner as Detroit beats the Devils 2-1

Brett Lebda scored midway through the third period Saturday to give the Red Wings a 2-1 victory over the Devils that ended a lot of pent-up frustration.

"What a great win, coming back from behind," said Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek, who made 21 saves. "We talked about not having won here before the game. This was one of the most exciting wins of the year."

Pavel Datsyuk also scored as Detroit won here for the first time since Nov. 20, 1993, a span of nine games that included two loses in the 1995 Stanley Cup.

Scott Gomez scored for the Devils, who dropped their third straight and fell to 11-3-1 at home.

Lebda got his second goal, the fifth of his career, with a sharp-angle shot from the left side that beat Martin Brodeur at 10:43.

Earlier in the third, Datsyuk pulled Detroit even with a power-play goal at 8:27. Mathieu Schneider hammered a point shot that sailed wide. The puck rebounded to Datsyuk, who drilled a shot into the New Jersey net.

The goal came on the Red Wings' seventh and final power play of the game. Devils coach Claude Julien criticized his team for spending too much time in the penalty box.

"Where we used to win games earlier on because we were a very disciplined team, lately it's cost us," Julien said. "We've taken a lot of penalties and the energy trying to kill them off takes away some of our momentum."

The Devils pressed for the equalizer in the closing seconds with a three-man advantage with Brodeur pulled for an extra attacker and two Red Wings serving penalties. Hasek managed to keep the puck out despite intense Devils pressure in front of his net.

"Marty and Hasek are two of the best," Gomez said. "We've seen all the best teams now and we know we're right in there with them."

Gomez scored in the second period on a power play set up when Hasek was called for two penalties at 9:27. The goalie was initially whistled for playing the puck in the area behind his goal. Enraged by the call, Hasek smashed his stick - drawing an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.

"I'm not sure if I was behind the line," Hasek said. "I was frustrated, half with myself. Maybe I made a mistake. Half the frustration was with the referee."

Gomez cashed in as he deflected Brian Gionta's blue-line shot past Hasek at 10:57. For Gomez, the goal was his fourth of the season and first on the power play.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock urged his team to remain patient entering the third period even though they trailed.

"Obviously, Dominik wasn't happy with himself," Babcock said. "He didn't react the right way. I told the guys Dom will shut the door. If we just plug away, we'll get two goals. Don't force anything. Just keep going."

The Red Wings peppered Brodeur with shots in the scoreless first period. Detroit outshot New Jersey 13-6 and got one of its best chances late in the period when Brodeur stopped Henrik Zetterberg from close range.

The Devils went six minutes without a shot but their first was a breakaway by Travis Zajac that Hasek blocked.

Notes: Brodeur was back in goal for New Jersey after a rare night off. Backup Scott Clemmensen was the loser in the Devils 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday. Brodeur has started 29 of the Devils 31 games. . . . Brodeur entered the game with a record of 11-6-0 and a 1.99 goals-against average in 18 games-including playoff-against the Red Wings. . . . Defenceman Niklas Kronwall returned for the Red Wings after missing six straight games with a groin injury.



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