The Devils look to win consecutive games for only the third time this season when they try to complete a home-and-home series sweep of the Washington Capitals.
Brodeur returned to the lineup to make 21 saves after missing six games with a sprained knee, and four different Devils scored as New Jersey snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory at Washington on Friday afternoon.
The win was Brodeur’s 408th of his career, moving him into sixth place all time.
“I survived the game,” he said. “Personally, I felt really good in there. My leg was good. I was not afraid to play the way I wanted to play. That’s something I was looking at before getting a start. I’m pretty happy about it.”
Although Brodeur was successful in his return, New Jersey’s lead began to slip away late in the game. Ahead 4-1 early in the third period, the Devils allowed Jeff Halpern and Alexander Ovechkin to score to make it a one-goal game.
New Jersey, though, held on for its first win this month.
“It’s one that we needed,” said Devils center Scott Gomez, who scored in the third. “We lost four in a row. It doesn’t matter whether we win 8-7. We needed that win.”
Washington, meanwhile, knows it must start off more aggressively in Saturday’s rematch. The Capitals were outshot 25-15 in the first two periods before holding a 9-5 advantage in the third.
“We tried to create our own momentum and our own energy with about 10 minutes left,” Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. “We played our game. That’s the way we have to play from the start (on Saturday).”
While Brodeur returned, another Vezina Trophy goaltender was sidelined. Washington’s Olaf Kolzig missed the game with a hamstring injury that has bothered him since Tuesday’s loss at Toronto. The Capitals recalled Frederic Cassivi from their AHL affiliate in Hershey and gave him his first NHL start since February 2003.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 11): Capitals - 12 points, 5th place, 13 PB, Southeast Division. Devils - 16 points, 3rd place, 7 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Capitals - Ovechkin, 13 goals and 18 points; Steve Eminger, 9 assists; Brendan Witt, 33 PIM. Devils - Brian Gionta, 10 goals and 15 points; Alexander Moginly and Sean Brown, 8 assists; Jamie Langenbrunner, 22 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 11): Capitals - Power play: 12.0 percent (11 for 91), 29th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.2 percent (101 for 129), 27th. Devils - Power play: 18.8 percent (17 for 90), 14th. Penalty killing: 84.4 percent (76 for 90), 9th.
SEASON SERIES: Devils, 1-0.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Capitals - 1-6-0 on the road; Devils - 4-4-1 at home.