Coach Jacques Lemaire pulled Brodeur after the winningest goaltender in NHL history allowed three goals on six shots in the first period. With Yann Danis in goal, the Devils rallied from a 3-1 deficit with four unanswered goals, then held on for a 5-4 victory on Saturday night.
New Jersey trailed 3-1 after one period despite outshooting the Thrashers 24-6. But after the goalie change, they solved Ondrej Pavelec, who had made 23 saves in the first 20 minutes.
"We did get a couple of easier ones," Lemaire said. "But that's what happens when a goalie makes seven, eight great saves. There's a time that softer goals will go in, but you can't blame this guy tonight because he was great."
Dean McAmmond, who entered the game with one goal, scored twice for New Jersey, including the eventual game-winner with 8:15 left in regulation when he finished off a 2-on-1 with Patrik Elias.
"There wasn't a downtrodden attitude at all," McAmmond said. "It was like a thing where we played well, we played hard and did the same thing again that we did in the first period. We found a way to get a couple by him."
Brodeur, seeking to break Terry Sawchuk's NHL record of 103 career shutouts one night after he set the NHL record for games played by a goalie, didn't have it. But his teammates picked him up.
Lemaire said he pulled Brodeur, who had started 12 consecutive games, "to be different."
"The way we're playing I thought it was a good opportunity to put Danis in and rest [Brodeur] for the next game," Lemaire said.
Brodeur had appeared in 20 consecutive games -- one in relief -- and was starting his second game in two nights. He said he had no problem being lifted.
"Oh, no, no, no, no," he said. "It's their decision. I think the bottom line is you need a little kick in the butt after the first [period]. Not that we played bad, but defensively -- three goals on six shots, we had to do something."
With Danis in goal, the League-leading Devils scored three times on their first seven shots to take a 4-3 lead, giving them 31 shots to Atlanta's 8 before the game's midpoint. They got three goals from players who entered with a combined total of one: McAmmond and Rod Pelley.
Brian Rolston, stymied by Pavelec's glove save on a slap shot in the first period that had him looking up to the rafters in disbelief, made it 3-2 at 2:46 of the second period.
New Jersey tied the game at 6:12 on a power-play goal by McAmmond. Zach Parise deflected Andy Greene's point shot and McAmmond batted the rebound out of the air with the top of his stick blade from a short distance to make it 3-3.
Pelley got his first goal of the season with a long shot from the left point that sailed over the shoulder of Pavelec at 10:04 to give the Devils their first lead.
Atlanta came in having won three of its last four games - but two of those wins came in games in which the Thrashers had allowed 47 and 48 shots. That tendency bit them on Saturday as the Devils totaled 42 shots.
"We talked about fixing our defensive game," coach John Anderson said. "We gave them too much respect and backed off. They're such a good team that they took advantage of it."
Ron Hainsey and New Jersey's Rob Niedermayer exchanged early goals before Nik Antropov and Pavel Kubina scored to give the Thrashers their 3-1 lead.
After McAmmond made it 5-3, Slava Kozlov pulled Atlanta within one with a power-play goal with 3:56 left in regulation for Atlanta.
But Danis, who said he was told that he was going into the game with about eight or nine minutes left in the first intermission, was sold in the final minutes as the Thrashers pressed for the equalizer.
"It was a little crazy," said Danis, who finished with 20 saves. "They didn't get much the first 15 minutes of the third period, but we battled through it and it's nice to get the win."
|Ron Hainsey (3) ASST: Christoph Schubert (4), Pavel Kubina (15)|
1 - 0 ATL
|Rob Niedermayer (5) ASST: Jay Pandolfo (4), Mike Mottau (2)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Nik Antropov (7) ASST: Ilya Kovalchuk (17), Boris Valabik (2)|
2 - 1 ATL
|Pavel Kubina (4) ASST: Toby Enstrom (23), Todd White (11)|
3 - 1 ATL
|Brian Rolston (13) ASST: Colin White (7)|
3 - 2 ATL
|PPG - Dean McAmmond (2) ASST: Zach Parise (21), Andy Greene (14)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Rod Pelley (1) ASST: Vladimir Zharkov (6)|
4 - 3 NJD
|Dean McAmmond (3) ASST: Patrik Elias (11), Zach Parise (22)|
5 - 3 NJD
|PPG - Vyacheslav Kozlov (8) ASST: Toby Enstrom (24), Nik Antropov (22)|
5 - 4 NJD
|Ron Hainsey Hooking against Patrik Elias|
|Christoph Schubert Slashing against Travis Zajac|
|Jamie Langenbrunner Slashing against Ilya Kovalchuk|
|Patrik Elias Hi-sticking against Christoph Schubert|