Newark, NJ – Tyler Bozak's third-period tally proved to be the difference, as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the New Jersey Devils, 2-1, on Saturday at Prudential Center.
Leo Komarov also lit the lamp, while James Reimer registered 27 saves for the Leafs, who have won four of their last five to take sole possession of fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
"It was a big game for us," Reimer remarked. "It kind of feels like a playoff game, so it was good for us to get the win. I thought the boys played great."
The Devils, meanwhile, are mired in a six-game losing streak and find themselves three points back of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
David Clarkson scored the lone New Jersey goal, while Martin Brodeur stopped 16 shots in the setback.
"I don't think we're panicking. We have a lot of games left," Clarkson said of his team's struggles. "We're a confident team, we believe in ourselves and we're going to have to continue to keep pushing."
Toronto struck first just under four minutes in when Mark Fraser snapped a low shot from the left point that Komarov redirected past Brodeur to make it 1-0 at the 3:49 mark.
After a scoreless second stanza, Toronto double its edge just over eight minutes into the third when Phil Kessel's pass from his own zone sprang Bozak on a breakaway.
Brodeur was able to get his stick on Bozak's backhander from in close, but the puck knuckled off Brodeur's stick and crossed the goal line for a 2-0 lead at the 8:02 mark.
New Jersey cut the lead in half under four minutes later when Marek Zidlicky came up with a steal near the red line and fed Clarkson, who skated into the slot before firing a wrister through the five-hole of Reimer to make it 2-1 at the 11:37 mark.
Toronto forward Nikolai Kulemin was whistled for a penalty at the 19:17 mark to give New Jersey life, but despite having a 6-on-4 advantage with Brodeur on the bench, the Devils were unable to break through against Reimer, who posted nine saves over the final 20 minutes to secure the victory for the Leafs.
New Jersey is 0-3-3 during its six-game slide ... New Jersey forward Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder) missed his sixth straight game ... The Devils fell to 10-7-2 at home this season ... Toronto has won both meetings with New Jersey this season, including a 4-2 win on March 4 in Toronto.