NEWARK, N.J. -- The scuffling New Jersey Devils needed a win in the worst way on Saturday night and goaltender Martin Brodeur delivered one of his best performances in nearly three years.
The 41-year-old made 33 saves for his third shutout of the season to help the Devils to a 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Prudential Center. It was the most saves Brodeur had made in a shutout since he stopped 51 shots against the New York Rangers on Jan. 12, 2010, at Madison Square Garden.
The shutout was Brodeur's 124th of his career, building on his NHL record.
The Devils were coming off a disappointing 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night, their fifth loss in six games, but got a much-needed win thanks to a vintage performance by Brodeur.
"If we could get that every night, I'd take that," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "That's exactly what we needed at the right time."
Brodeur rose to the occasion with the Devils leading 3-0 in the third period. He stopped three breakaway chances, including one by right winger Nikita Kucherov that Brodeur was unable to explain after the game.
"I have no clue," Brodeur said. "I asked (teammate Cory Schneider). He said he think it hit my back leg and went through, but I don't know. I didn't feel it or know where it was. Got lucky."
Brodeur didn't get lucky early in the second period, when he snared a hard, quick shot from Lightning right winger Martin St. Louis from the slot. He kept the game scoreless and allowed time for the Devils to a get a goal from Damien Brunner about 10 minutes later, then two from Dainius Zubrus in the third period to ice the game.
The win came 24 hours after the Devils fell behind 3-0 after one period in Pittsburgh before fighting back over the final 40 minutes only to lose by a goal. Brodeur said while the Devils were outshot 33-19 by the Lightning, the final two periods on Friday served as a springboard in the win on Saturday.
"We played well the last two periods in Pittsburgh and I think that momentum got into this game even though they outshot us," Brodeur said. "I thought we controlled the game for most of the night and we scored at the right time. We didn't gamble to get our goals. We just worked hard."
While the Devils (13-15-6) climbed to within one point of third place in the Metropolitan Division pending the outcome of the late games, the Lightning (18-11-3) lost for the fifth time in seven games.
Tampa Bay goaltender Anders Lindback stopped 16 of 19 shots in just his second start since Nov. 27 and received no offensive support from his teammates.
"We were being a little to pretty in the first period and looking for the perfect play," Lightning center Alex Killorn said. "Brodeur is a great goalie we just tried to throw the puck at his feet and get rebounds to the net."
Brunner's third goal in four games with 4:23 left in the second period put the Devils ahead 1-0. He took a pass from defenseman Eric Gelinas and beat Lindback on a breakaway for his seventh goal of the season.
"I just saw him swinging and I knew he had speed," Gelinas said. "I didn't know he'd be that open, but he screamed he was open so my job was just to put it on his tape."
Both of Zubrus' goals, his seventh and eighth of the season, were assisted by right winger Jaromir Jagr, who jokingly insisted his linemate would be an All-Star if not for this being an Olympic year. Zubrus laughed it off as he was being heckled by Jagr during his postgame interview.
"Somebody escort him out of here, please," Zubrus joked before discussing his goals. "It's nice to score. There's quite a few games we've played well but we can't get wins and points, so the frustration builds up. But I think our coaching staff is doing a good job of preparing us."
The Lightning will have little time to regroup. They play in Detroit against the Red Wings at on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET.
"We have to turn the page," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We have Detroit in less than 24 hours and we have to get ready and play like we did tonight without the errors."
NOTES: Thirty-three days after breaking his leg, Lightning C Steven Stamkos skated during the morning skate at Prudential Center. "I'm feeling good. Everything is on track. My four-week X-ray looks good," said Stamkos, who hopes to be recovered in time for the Sochi Olympics in February. ... Lightning RW Richard Panik served the second game of a two-game suspension. ... Devils C Andrei Loktionov was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. ... Devils LW Ryane Clowe, who has been out since Oct. 13 with a concussion, has been cleared to play.