Martin Brodeur stopped 30 shots for his first shutout of the season and the record 117th of his NHL career, and the New Jersey Devils beat the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers 1-0 on Tuesday night for their fifth consecutive win.
Brodeur was sharp and steady throughout, despite going several stretches without facing much action. David Clarkson gave him all the offense he needed with a first-period, power-play goal. Brodeur made it stand for the Devils, who didn't need any help from Ilya Kovalchuk, who had three points in each of his previous three games.
The Rangers appeared to score the tying goal with 3.5 seconds left, but it was disallowed because Marian Gaborik was called for goalie interference when he crashed into Brodeur in the crease after being shoved from behind by New Jersey defenseman Anton Volchenkov.
New Jersey is 5-0-1 in its past six games, including a shootout victory over the Rangers last week at home. New York is 4-1-1 in its past six, with the only blemishes coming against the Devils.
Henrik Lundqvist took the tough-luck loss, despite making 21 saves. Lundqvist had won his previous four starts, allowing only four goals and earning two shutouts. He had been tied with Brodeur for the most shutouts (41) since the 2005-06 season.
Rangers rookie Carl Hagelin had two of the best chances against Brodeur, once late in the second period and again in the opening minutes of the third, but was denied each time. Gaborik also had a partial breakaway in the middle frame, but his long drive was also turned aside.
New York put on the pressure early in the third, forcing the Devils to take a few icings that led to New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer to use his timeout. The Rangers also had their third power play of the night midway through the third, but were again stonewalled.
The Devils grabbed the all-important lead 8:14 in when Clarkson scored a rare power-play goal against the Rangers. New Jersey was already dominating play on the shot board and finally cashed in on its eighth attempt. Zach Parise sent a crisp pass from behind the net in front to Clarkson, who quickly snapped a shot in from the slot for his career-best 21st goal.
New Jersey carried that lead into the second period, a key point because the Rangers are 10-1-2 this season when ahead after one and 24-1-2 when they score first. The Devils' power-play unit cracked the tough Rangers' penalty-killers and notched just the fourth man-advantage goal against New York in 18 games.
The Devils got much more of a lift from the fireworks off the opening faceoff when New Jersey's Eric Boulton and Cam Janssen fought Brandon Prust and Mike Rupp after only 2 seconds elapsed.
New Jersey recorded the first five shots of the game, before Hagelin got the Rangers on the shot board 6:10 in, and carried most of the play in the period. New York's best flurry came with under three minutes left in the first when shots by Prust and Brian Boyle had Brodeur lunging and flapping his arms and legs to keep the Devils in front.
Petr Sykora nearly doubled New Jersey's lead with 12 seconds remaining in the period, but his shot from the right point during another power play slammed hard off the left post.
NOTES: Brodeur is 45-27-20 against the Rangers with nine shutouts in 92 career games. ... Clarkson, who scored his previous career high of 17 goals in the 2008-09 season, is two points shy of his best total of 32 in that season. He appeared to injure a shoulder on a hit by Rangers D Anton Stralman in the second period, but remained in the game. ... The Devils held an 11-9 shots advantage through the first period and 21-15 after 40 minutes. ... The Rangers have beaten the Devils 99 times.