NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Martin Brodeur made 20 saves in what might have been his last game with the Devils, and Stephen Gionta scored the tiebreaking goal with under 37 seconds left to lift New Jersey to a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.
Adam Henrique, Marek Zidlicky, and Travis Zajac also had goals for the Devils (27-23-13), who closed within one point of Detroit (28-21-12).
Johan Franzen, Brendan Smith and Todd Bertuzzi scored for the Red Wings against Brodeur, who has been the subject of trade rumors leading up to Wednesday’s NHL dealing deadline.
“We’ll see what’s going to happen,” said Brodeur, who has a no-trade clause.
Gionta put the Devils ahead for good when he tipped Mark Fayne’s point shot past Jimmy Howard for the winning goal.
Howard finished with 25 saves.
Zajac snapped a 2-2 tie with his 10th of the season 6:30 into the third period. Ryane Clowe forced a turnover in the defensive zone with a hit, and Zajac and Jaromir Jagr quickly moved the puck up ice.
But the lead lasted for only 3:13 when Bertuzzi tied it with a power-play goal.
Henrique opened the scoring 27 seconds into the game when his shot pinballed in off of the sprawled Howard. Franzen tied it for Detroit 11 minutes later with his 13th goal during a power play.
Franzen stole the puck from forward Dainius Zubrus in the left circle and maneuvered along the goal line before snapping a quick shot past Brodeur.
Detroit went ahead 2-1 on Smith’s second of the season 7:03 into the second period, but Zidlicky got New Jersey even on a power play 42 seconds into the third.
The Red Wings were 2 for 4 on the advantage. New Jersey went 1 for 3.
Devils fans chanted Brodeur’s name during the national anthem and throughout the game.
The 41-year-old goalie is the NHL’s career leader in wins, minutes played, games played, losses and shutouts. He has been awarded the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie four times and is a three-time Stanley Cup champion while playing his entire career with the Devils.
Brodeur is in the final year of a two-year, $9 million contract, and has lost playing time to Cory Schneider.
NOTES: The teams will complete their three-game season series on March 7 in Detroit. … Devils alumni will play a select group of Russian legends in a charity game on Wednesday at Prudential Center to raise funds for a New Jersey high school hockey player who sustained a broken neck in a game on Jan. 4. … Jagr’s assist on Zajac’s goal gave him 1,041 in his career, passing Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne for ninth on the NHL career list.