MONTREAL -- If this was the final game in Montreal of Martin Brodeur's storied career, it was a perfect way to say goodbye to his hometown.
It was fitting that as Brodeur left the ice after playing against a team that meant so much to him throughout his childhood, he did so with Canadiens fans applauding when he was named the game's first star.
Considering Brodeur improved his record to 20-9-1 in Montreal, the ovation was a rare occurrence for the Devils star.
"It's special," Brodeur, 41, said of the crowd's reaction. "I've experienced some nice moments in Montreal. Obviously I never played for the Canadiens, but I tied Patrick Roy's record [for career NHL wins] in this building, I played goal for Team Canada in the World Cup in 2004 and I played both games here; I've never had a feeling like that.
"So for me it's special to play here, but I'm playing against the Canadiens so it's tough. But at least I was able to be applauded here four times in my career."
Brodeur was not the only likely future Hall of Fame member to star for the Devils (20-18-10). Jaromir Jagr, also 41, scored their first goal at 17:23 of the first period to snap a 10-game goal drought and tie the game 1-1. It was his 695th career goal, moving him past Mark Messier for seventh place on the NHL's all-time list.
"I think [Jagr] and Marty, having those guys in the room playing at the level they're playing at, you don't reproduce that," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "You can't say enough about what it means to the young guys in the dressing room. They want to play hard for those guys because they're great professionals. It's amazing they're both doing what they're doing at the ages they are."
Eric Gelinas, Adam Henrique and Dainius Zubrus also scored for the Devils, who won for the third time in four games and have collected a point in five straight (3-0-2) to move past the Columbus Blue Jackets into fifth place in the Metropolitan Division.
This was the second time in New Jersey's past 11 games it managed to score more than two goals, and the first time in that span they won when doing so (the other instance coming in a 5-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 3).
Max Pacioretty scored his 20th goal of the season for the Canadiens (26-16-5), who lost for the second time in three games.
Montreal has had trouble scoring of late with six goals in four games, and much of the blame for that can go to a power play that went 0-for-3 and has been unsuccessful in 18 straight attempts.
"I think that [New] Jersey over the years has prided themselves on playing a game like that for a full 60 minutes," Pacioretty said. "You know that if they get out ahead that they're going to play like that and they were able to do so, but obviously we have to find a way to catch up and be more of a threat in the offensive zone. We weren't able to do that tonight."
Montreal scored first when Pacioretty rifled a shot from the top of the faceoff circle past an unscreened Brodeur at 7:00 of the first period, giving him his second career 20-goal season.
Jagr tied it at 17:23 when he came down the right wing toward the corner, stopped suddenly and cut to the middle on Josh Gorges before putting a low shot through a crowd past Carey Price and inside the far post for his 14th goal of the season.
"We've been playing from behind quite a bit this year," DeBoer said. "I liked our composure. We didn't panic, we stuck with it. It took us the rest of the period to get it back, but once we got it back I thought we felt good about ourselves."
The Devils took the lead early in the second period with a power-play goal from Gelinas, who one-timed a blast from the point that beat Price with the help of a screen from Montreal defenseman Douglas Murray at 1:20.
Henrique made it 3-1 less than three minutes later with his 12th of the season on some nice work from his linemates. Michael Ryder's one-timer from the slot forced Price to make a difficult save, and Ryane Clowe came crashing into the crease looking for a rebound, instead sending the puck to Henrique for an easy tap-in goal at 4:02.
Price made an incredible save off Ryder at 7:33 to keep the Canadiens within striking distance, going post-to-post to stop him with his glove on a 2-on-1 rush.
That save looked like it could be a big one when Brendan Gallagher appeared to score for Montreal less than a minute later at 8:30, but the goal was disallowed after video review determined Gallagher kicked the puck past Brodeur with his right skate.
The Canadiens generated very little in the third period, when the Devils limited them to six shots on Brodeur. Zubrus scored into an empty net off a pass from Jagr with 13.1 seconds to play.