NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Tomas Holmstrom and Danny Cleary scored on Detroit's first two shots against Martin Brodeur, and the Red Wings beat the slumping New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Saturday night, handing them their season-high fifth straight loss.
Chris Osgood had 33 saves in posting his 399th career win. His bid for his first shutout since November 2009 ended in the opening minute of the third period when Patrik Elias scored on a power play.
Pavel Datsyuk added a goal and two assists, and Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and an assist as the Red Wings won for the second time in two nights.
The losing streak is the Devils' longest since a six-game slide (0-5-1) late in the 2008-09 season. It also marks the first time they have lost five straight in regulation since November 2000, when they lost six in a row, a season in which they went to the Stanley Cup finals.
The Devils' poor start (8-19-2) has put the future of rookie coach John MacLean in jeopardy. New Jersey has reached the playoffs in 13 straight seasons.
Detroit came into the game with the best record in the Western Conference. The Red Wings made the Devils and Brodeur look inept in the opening 102 seconds.
Holmstrom got his second goal in two games and ninth of the season 28 seconds in. Brad Stuart kept the puck and chipped a pass to Datsyuk. His 45-foot wrist shot was deflected by Holmstrom off the post and into the net, stunning the crowd.
The frustrated fans sarcastically cheered the next time the puck was played by Brodeur, who returned to action on Friday after missing nine games because of a bruised elbow.
The sarcasm from the sellout crowd of 17,625 turned to boos when Cleary took a cross-ice pass from Todd Bertuzzi and beat Brodeur with a shot from the left circle at 1:42 for his 13th goal.
The Devils had chances to get back in the game in the first period. Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom swept a couple of power-play shots by Travis Zajac away from the net after Osgood made the initial save. Osgood stopped hard shots by Brian Rolston and Jason Arnott.
Zetterberg stretched the lead to three goals at 11:37 of the second. Datsyuk stole the puck from defenseman Anton Volchenkov along the boards and fed Zetterberg. Brodeur, who finished with 19 saves, stopped the initial shot, but Zetterberg put in the rebound after it ticked off Holmstrom.
Elias scored in the opening minute of the third period. Datsyuk then scored while all alone against Brodeur after being set up by Zetterberg.
NOTES: After being stopped by Osgood on two good second-period chances, David Clarkson got the best of Jonathan Ericsson in a fight. ... The Red Wings are 2-1 against Eastern Conference teams. ... The Red Wings are 8-3-1 on the road. ... Datsyuk's three-point game pushed his team-high point total to 36 (11 goals, 25 assists).