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NHL Game Summary - Columbus at New Jersey

(Tuesday, March 23rd)

Final Score: New Jersey 6, Columbus 3

Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Zach Parise and Travis Zajac both scored twice to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Prudential Center.

Ilya Kovalchuk and Paul Martin also scored for the Devils, who have captured five of their last six home games and moved into tie with Pittsburgh atop the Atlantic Division. Technically, the Devils hold the division lead due to one more win.

"We aren't looking at the standings," said Zajac. "We have to start winning games and playing good hockey, and tonight we did that."

Marty Brodeur made 19 saves in the win, which marked the 40th victory of the season for the future Hall of Famer. Brodeur, who already holds the all-time NHL mark for 40-win campaigns by a netminder, now has eight for his career.

"I expect myself to put up these kind of numbers because I play so (often), but it's always nice to get it done," said Brodeur. "It's a big number and there are not many guys in the league who are able to do it, and now I have eight of them in my career."

Antoine Vermette, Jakub Voracek and Kristian Huselius scored for the Blue Jackets, who have lost two straight and, although are still mathematically alive, have all but been eliminated from playoff contention. Steve Mason allowed all six goals on 30 shots in the losing effort.

The Devils scored the only goal of the first period at the 13:01 mark. Skating on the power play due to a roughing minor on Rick Nash, the Devils controlled the puck deep in their offensive zone and the disc eventually made its way onto the stick of Jamie Langenbrunner, who became tangled with a defender. From the inner rim of the lower left circle, Langenbrunner was able to muster a shot that was saved by Mason, but Parise punched home the rebound from in close near the top of the crease.

Another power-play goal, this one only 1:14 into the second stanza, pushed the New Jersey advantage to two. Patrik Elias curled atop the left circle, drifted toward the faceoff dot and released a shot that deflected off the pads of Mason and directly onto the stick of Martin, who easily lit the lamp on the rebound from below the right circle.

Over two minutes later, Vermette's slap shot from the slot beat Brodeur.

The Devils then scored three consecutive times and took control of the contest.

"Once you get behind against this team, it's very tough to come back," said Columbus head coach Claude Noel. "For us, we still could've won the game -- even after the first period, the game was up for grabs and it's disappointing."

After Kovalchuk's 37th goal was scored at the 12:32 mark, Zajac gave the Devils a 4-1 advantage with his 22nd goal of the season. After a faceoff win inside the right circle, Kovalchuk corralled the puck in the high slot and fired a turnaround wrister that Zajac deflected home from in close at 15:40.

With 53 seconds to go in the middle session, Zajac's bouncing wrister from along the right half wall made its way through traffic and past Mason before the Blue Jackets answered 33 ticks later via Voracek's tally for a 5-2 score.

The teams traded goals in the final stanza, as Huselius' power-play marker at the six-minute mark preceded Parise's second tally of the game and 35th of the season.

Game Notes

The Devils were 2-for-6 on the power play, while the Blue Jackets failed on all three of their chances with the extra skater...New Jersey improved to 25-10-1 on home ice this season...Columbus has lost five of its last six road games overall and remained winless all-time in New Jersey in four tries.

03/23 23:47:16 ET

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