Patrik Elias scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period, Martin Brodeur made 27 saves and the New Jersey Devils snapped a three-game skid with a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.
Captain Jamie Langenbrunner also scored for the Devils, who had lost five of six while plummeting to the bottom of the NHL standings. After losing in the first two stops of their six-game trip, the Devils halted the slide with a tight-checking defensive game in front of Brodeur, who picked up his 605th victory.
Jason Blake scored a power-play goal and Jonas Hiller stopped 25 shots for Anaheim, which came back flat from a four-game trip. The Ducks haven't won back-to-back games this season, although they outshot an opponent (28-27) for just the third time.
Both teams looked shaky in their only meeting of the season, but the Devils hung on late for a win they desperately needed. New Jersey slid into last place overall with just five points in its first 10 games, an inauspicious start for a franchise with 18 consecutive winning seasons.
Big-money forward Ilya Kovalchuk went scoreless for the fourth time in five games. He's sure to be hit with heavy boos Saturday night when the Devils drive up the I-5 to face the Los Angeles Kings, who ardently courted Kovalchuk for two months before he re-signed with New Jersey.
After 28 scoreless minutes in which the Devils outshot Anaheim but failed to score on four power plays, the Ducks capitalized on their first man-advantage. Saku Koivu made a pass down low to Blake, who forced his own rebound underneath Brodeur for his second goal of the season.
Just 2½ minutes later, Langenbrunner slipped a sharp-angled shot between Hiller's pads for his first goal in the Devils' 11 games.
Elias then connected with 18:06 to play, putting a one-timer past Hiller on a pass from Alexander Vasyunov after a turnover by Anaheim defenseman Danny Syvret. Vasyunov earned his first NHL point in his second career game.
Ducks executive Scott Niedermayer spent part of the game chatting with Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello. Niedermayer spent 12 years in the New Jersey organization before joining Anaheim in 2005.
NOTES: Before the game, New Jersey put D Mark Fraser on injured reserve and Anaheim recalled well-traveled LW Josh Green from the AHL. The Ducks put forward Matt Beleskey on injured reserve Thursday with a concussion. ... Devils C Rod Pelley got an assist on Langenbrunner's goal for his first point of the season. ... Ducks rookie D Cam Fowler skated and practiced Thursday, but didn't play. The teenager has missed five straight games because of a neck injury.