Vladimir Zharkov scored his first NHL goal, and the suddenly potent New Jersey Devils broke out again in a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Monday.
Zharkov started the Devils' latest barrage in the first period before Ilya Kovalchuk doubled the lead 57 seconds later. New Jersey also got a pair of goals 54 seconds apart from Rod Pelley and Dainius Zubrus in the second period after the Islanders trimmed a three-goal deficit to one.
Mattias Tedenby, playing for the first time since Jan. 1, and Pelley both had a goal and an assist to back Martin Brodeur's 27-save effort.
The Devils (13-29-3) closed within six points of the Islanders (14-23-7) as they try to escape the NHL cellar.
P.A. Parenteau and Michael Grabner had goals 54 seconds apart to pull New York to 3-2. Parenteau thought he had his second of the game with 1:29 remaining in the second, but the goal was disallowed after it was determined that Grabner interfered with Brodeur after he was shoved into him by Devils defenseman Mark Fayne. The contact knocked off Brodeur's mask.
The Islanders protested after all four officials held a conference in front of the penalty box. The argument continued after the period before the officials left the ice.
New Jersey, which has an NHL-low 90 goals, has scored 18 in four games after netting only 16 in the previous 11. The Devils are 3-0-1 during their scoring spurt, their best four-game stretch of this otherwise forgettable season.
New York is 1-3-1 after an 8-2-1 spurt.
Islanders rookie Kevin Poulin made his fifth NHL appearance and had a rough outing in place of Rick DiPietro, who was scratched. DiPietro made 40 saves Saturday in a win over Buffalo after missing five games with a knee injury.
Poulin allowed all five goals on 27 shots and absorbed his first regulation loss.
Zharkov made it 1-0 at 4:25 with the first goal of his 49-game NHL career. Mattias Tedenby, back in the lineup after being scratched the previous six games, cut in front around defensemen Bruno Gervais and Milan Jurcina and put a shot between Poulin's legs and off the right post.
The puck caromed left toward Zharkov, who came out from behind the net and scored with a backhander.
Just 57 seconds later, while New York's Jack Hillen was serving a hooking penalty, Kovalchuk gave New Jersey a 2-0 lead with his 13th goal. Andy Greene sent a pass from the center of the blue line to Kovalchuk, who ripped a one-timer from the left circle past Poulin 13 seconds into the advantage.
The Islanders were outshot 11-9 despite having parts of three power plays in the period that featured a pair of fights.
Tedenby's fifth goal put New Jersey in front 3-0 at 6:40 of the second before the Islanders showed some life.
Parenteau took a pass in the crease from Blake Comeau and scored his 11th goal. Grabner followed with his 11th less than a minute later, after Josh Bailey sent him in alone.
Devils coach Jacques Lemaire used his timeout, and it worked.
Pelley made it 4-2 at 16:59, and Zubrus followed at 17:53 to restore the Devils' three-goal lead.
Notes: The Devils were called twice for having too many men on the ice in the first period. ... The Islanders won the first two games in the season series. ... Brodeur has earned three of his eight wins this season in his last four appearances.