Newark, NJ – Travis Zajac's goal in the fifth round of the shootout lifted the New Jersey Devils over the Chicago Blackhawks, 2-1, at Prudential Center.
Petr Sykora scored in regulation while Martin Brodeur made 37 saves for the Devils, who increased their lead to four points over idle Ottawa for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Brent Seabrook lit the lamp for Chicago, which inched up to three points behind Nashville for the fifth seed in the Western Conference after the Preds lost in regulation to St. Louis on Tuesday.
Corey Crawford turned aside 21-of-22 shots in the loss.
After Patrik Elias and Patrick Sharp traded goals in the third round of the shootout, David Clarkson and Marian Hossa both came up empty in the fourth.
Zajac then cruised down the center of the ice and waited for Crawford to drop down before lifting a wrister over the goaltender's glove and into the top- right corner. Blackhawks rookie forward Andrew Shaw had a chance to keep the game going, but his wrister rung off the left post.
The Devils recorded the lone goal of the first period thanks to a late hooking penalty on Seabrook. As the power play was winding down, Adam Henrique sent a pass from the top of the right circle down to Sykora at the left of the net and he redirected it past Crawford with 4:18 left in the frame.
After a scoreless second period in which the Blackhawks failed to record a shot in a two-man advantage lasting just over a minute, Chicago was able to knot the game at one at the 8:34 mark of the third on Seabrook's slap shot from the top of the right circle that went through a crowd and past Brodeur's stick side.
But the Blackhawks would not be able to solve Brodeur again in the frame despite being awarded a late power play that was partially negated by a Hossa tripping infraction, giving New Jersey a 4-on-3 advantage for the first 1:15 of overtime.
New Jersey, though, would not capitalize on its power play as Crawford made three saves in the extra frame. Brodeur stopped two shots in overtime to force the shootout.
New Jersey improved to 21-13-4 at home this season, while Chicago fell to 16-18-4 on the road...Crawford faced just four shots apiece in the second and third periods...The Blackhawks went 0-for-4 on the power play...The Devils went 1-for-3 on the man advantage.