Cory Schneider has played in so many low-scoring games this season that his coach compared him to a pitcher who needs a shutout to win.
"We don't give him a lot of run support and I think he's starting to get used to that," New Jersey Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "He's figured it out that he has to pitch a shutout."
Schneider made 26 saves while "pitching" his third shutout of the season and Michael Ryder scored his fourth goal in five games to lead the Devils past the Dallas Stars 1-0 on Thursday night.
Schneider came up with his biggest save in the closing seconds when Tyler Seguin of the Stars put one on net, but he turned it away to clinch the game.
"Even with 8 seconds left, they can still come up the ice and make something happen," Schneider said. "Fortunately, I was able to stick that one away and it didn't hit my guy and go in. Winning is always better, no matter how it happens, 5-4 or 1-0."
Schneider earned his first victory since Dec. 28 against the New York Islanders. Schneider's previous shutout was also a 1-0 victory against Buffalo on Nov. 30. He also blanked the Rangers in October.
Ryder, who scored 35 goals three seasons ago while playing for the Stars, netted his team-leading 15th on a pass from Travis Zajac.
"I went through a little stretch there where the puck wasn't going in and I just stuck with it," Ryder said. "If you keep shooting, eventually you'll find the back of the net. It's going in for me now."
Despite stellar goaltending by Kari Lehtonen, who made 33 saves, Dallas dropped its fourth straight.
"I think that is the problem when you are losing a lot," Lehtonen said. "You are not consistently playing well. We need to keep working. During a season, there are tough times and really good times. Our job is to cut this as short as possible and start playing well again."
Ryder connected at 8:17 of the second period. Ryane Clowe sent the puck behind the net and Zajac held on until he could slip it to Ryder for his shot from the edge of the right circle that beat Lehtonen to his stick side.
"One-nothing games are games that goalies want," Lehtonen said. "I wish we would have been the one with the one goal at the end. It was a tight game and their goalie played great. That's how it goes."
Ryder nearly struck again at the 10:36 mark of the second when he intercepted a pass and skated in for an uncontested shot that Lehtonen saved.
Dallas made a bid to tie the game when Ryan Garbutt took a shot that hit Schneider's mask. Soon after, Stephen Gionta was charged with a double-minor for hitting Jamie Benn in the face with his stick. The Devils killed the four-minute power-play to keep its 1-0 lead entering the third.
"That was critical," DeBoer said of killing the four-minute power play.
The Stars didn't get their first shot until 10:40 in the first period. That drought included a two-minute power play. The Devils held a 10-8 shots edge in the period.
Ryder's shot from between the circles was thwarted by a nice reaction save by Lehtonen midway through the first.
Schneider made three saves in rapid succession to deny the Stars in the first period. Tyler Seguin skated down the left wing before trying to beat Schneider with a high shot. Seguin got a second chance on the rebound before Rich Peverley took his shot from in close that Schneider blocked.
"There wasn't one save that stood out, but that flurry of shots there was when I had to be on my toes," Schneider said.
Seguin, Dallas' 21-goal scorer had the toughest night with six of his shots denied by Schneider.
"It's a big goose egg up there," Seguin said. "I am pretty much a guy who needs to produce. I'm not satisfied. In the third period, we showed some desperation. We need to find a way to get it for a full 60. We are wanting to win, but we are not hating to lose."
NOTES: Zajac missed Wednesday's practice because his wife gave birth to his daughter. DeBoer noted that Zajac looked energized. "His wife should give birth every week," the coach said. "He looked great." . DeBoer said he was "leaning toward" giving Schneider a second straight start against Florida on Saturday because of the shutout. The Devils activated D Adam Larsson, who has not played since Nov. 23, from IR and assigned him to their AHL Albany affiliate.