for this game

Devils stay hot with win over Thrashers

Mar 16, 2011 - 5:41 AM Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Jacob Josefson scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and the New Jersey Devils held on for a 4-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers at the Prudential Center.

Travis Zajac, Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk also tallied for the Devils, who have won three straight and are an amazing 23-3-2 in their last 28 games overall. New Jersey now has 70 points, but is still on the outside looking in for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

"This is what was expected of us this year. We were supposed to compete at a high level," Zajac said.

Martin Brodeur turned aside 18-of-20 shots to pick up the win and improved to 22-8-5 with three ties in his career versus Atlanta.

Tim Stapleton and Chris Thornburn scored for Atlanta, which had won three of four overtime games entering the contest and also has 70 points. Ondrej Pavelec made 20 saves in defeat.

"It was a tough one ... We're disappointed. We have to focus on the next one," Pavelec said.

Deadlocked at 2-2 after two periods, New Jersey went ahead at 4:14 of the third. Josefson took a pass from Mattias Tedenby and fired a bouncing puck from the top of the left circle that beat Pavelec through the pads.

However, with the goaltender pulled in favor of the extra attacker and under a minute to play, Evander Kane deflected a point shot past Brodeur from the slot with 37.4 seconds to play. The goal was immediately waved off after an official ruled Kane used a high stick to score. A brief booth review confirmed the call on the ice and Kovalchuk scored into the empty net a short time later to secure the victory

Atlanta had the better of the chances for most of the opening period and was finally able to cash in for a pair of goals just over a minute apart.

Stapleton got behind the New Jersey defense and re-directed a perfect pass from Kane into the net with 4:36 left in the stanza. Then 1:05 later, Thornburn skated down the left side, turned a defender inside out and fired a wrist shot under the arm of Brodeur.

The Devils responded with 1:08 remaining when Zajac deflected Mark Fayne's point shot past Pavelec and it was 2-1 after 20 minutes.

Elias' wrister from the right circle found the back of the net to finish off a give-and-go with Brian Rolston that tied the game at 5:10 of the middle period and it remained even after two.

Game Notes

Zajac played in his 388th straight contest, tying former defenseman Ken Daneyko for the most consecutive games played in Devils history...New Jersey has won eight of its last nine on home ice and improved to 18-14-3 as the host this season...Atlanta dropped to 14-15-5 as the visitor.