NEWARK, N.J. -- Faced with a one-goal deficit early in the second period in a game severely lacking in quality scoring chances, goaltender Jonas Gustavsson made a save that kept the short-handed Detroit Red Wings within striking distance.
New Jersey forward Adam Henrique fired a shot off the back of the goaltender and the puck appeared destined for the back of the net. But instead of a two-goal lead for the Devils, Gustavsson made a no-look, behind-the-back glove save that proved to be crucial.
The Red Wings responded with a goal later in the period and two in the third to emerge with a 3-1 victory on Friday night at the Prudential Center.
"Obviously, I couldn't see the puck, but I felt it somewhere there," said Gustavsson, who made 10 saves to improve to 8-0-1 this season. "That's one of those where you have to try to do everything you can to get it out of there. I guess it's one of those lucky ones, but I guess that happens when you keep fighting."
For Henrique, it was the second time in a little more than a week that he was victimized by a highlight-reel save. Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward was down and out by managed to snare a Henrique chance in a game the Devils would lose 4-3 on Nov. 29.
"I just tried to throw it hard off his back," Henrique said. "It's just another SportsCenter Top 10 I"m on the wrong side of."
Henrique was also on the wrong side of Johan Franzen's winning goal, which came with 7:20 remaining in the third period.
Right winger Gustav Nyquist took a pass from left winger Tomas Tatar and looked to Franzen at the far post. Nyquist's pass made it through Henrique and onto the stick of Franzen, who tapped home his ninth goal of the season past goaltender Cory Schneider, who made 18 saves in defeat.
"They kind of went corner to corner there and I made a mistake," Henrique said. "I saw him coming down there. They made a good pass and it snuck between my stick and my skate there. That's my mistake there."
For the Red Wings, it marked their fifth win in six games, all of which have been played without offensive superstar Pavel Datsyuk. Leading scorer and captain Henrik Zetterberg has also been absent the past two games, but the Red Wings are still finding ways to win.
Nyquist, Tatar and Joakim Andersson, who scored with 36 seconds remaining in the second period to tie the score at 1, combined for two goals and three assists. They are all in what will likely be their first full NHL season and provided a spark with the team's two biggest weapons on the shelf.
"It's going to be tough without our big guys," Franzen said. "But it's important for us to see we can win without them."
The Devils had just four shots in each of the first two periods and a mere three in the third period, but they found a way to get on the board with their second shot late in the first period.
Defenseman Andy Greene led a rush up the ice with the Devils on the power play and dished the puck to left winger Patrik Elias. Greene continued to push toward the net and deflected a pass past Gustavsson to give the Devils a 1-0 lead with 6:17 left in the first period.
The problem for the Devils over the rest of the game wasn't just an inability to get shots on net, but the decision by a lot of player to eschew a shot and instead look for a pass that led to nothing.
"For sure, we could shoot it a little bit more," Devils right winger Steve Bernier said. "But that's something we're going to need to focus on next game."
Henrique said, "We have to find a way to get more opportunities early in the game. We have to keep getting pucks to the net and keep staying on our forecheck. I think we've been doing that pretty well as of late, but we still have to find a way to get more shots to the net tonight."
NOTES: Red Wings C Darren Helm (shoulder) missed the first of what will be at least two games. C Pavel Datsyuk (concussion) and LW Henrik Zetterberg (back) also did not play. ... Devils LW Ryane Clowe, who has been out since Oct. 13 with a concussion, took part in the team's morning skate on Friday. There is still no timetable for his return, but coach Peter DeBoer said it was a positive sign. "He's been cleared to skate and get in practice and take contact, so that's the first step of a few here before he's game-ready," DeBoer said. ... Devils RW Damien Brunner was a healthy scratch. He has one goal in his past 23 games.