Mackenzie Blackwood finished with 29 saves, while the Devils finally scored on the power play and blanked the Rangers on their six man-advantage opportunities.
The Devils entered the game 0-for-18 on the power play, one of only two teams still looking to capitalize on special teams. They had also allowed nine goals in 21 times shorthanded. Thursday was different.
"We needed that bad," Blackwood said of the win. "Everyone showed up to play today and we got bounces that went our way. Huge blocks and great team efforts from everyone who was in the lineup tonight. You could sense the desperation in the group and the sacrifice that everyone gave and the heart. We've been needing this for a little while, but it was nice to get it tonight."
The Devils host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. The game can be seen on MSG+ and heard on the Devils Hockey Network, including right here at NewJerseyDevils.com.
Tony DeAngelo gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 6:02 into the game when he pounced on a loose puck in front of Blackwood and buried.
Blake Coleman scored his third goal of the season at 12:58 of the opening frame. It was a simple case of getting a shot on net and Coleman did just that. Travis Zajac and Matt Tennyson recorded the assists.
The Devils had a chance to pull ahead late in the frame but a power-play opportunity was negated by a penalty of their own.
Early in the second period, the Devils would make most of their next man advantage. Kyle Palmieri potted the team's first power-play marker of the season at 2:18 of the middle frame, lifting the Devils to a 2-1 lead.
The Devils built on that lead at 12:25 of the second and their star rookie recorded his first professional point. Matt Tennyson shot the puck through traffic and it went off first-overall pick Jack Hughs and Miles Wood and in. Wood was credited with the goal, which gave New Jersey a 3-1 lead heading into the third.
It took a few moments for them to sort out the helpers, but Hughes knew he was a part of the stat line.
"I knew I had assisted it," said Hughes. "It's the NHL, you knew they were going to fix it. It's just nice to figure that out and get on the board, finally."
The fans went crazy when the correction to the score was announced in bowl.
"They're big fans of me, so it's pretty cool to look up in the stands and see a couple Hughes jerseys. Hopefully, I can score a little bit more for them in the future."
The Rangers cut the lead to one at just 2:22 into the third as Jesper Fast flipped a puck past a sprawling Blackwood.
With 12:52 left in the third period, the Devils thought they had scored to take back a two-goal lead. Taylor Hall crashed the net and buried the puck but it was ruled goaltender interference as he shoved the puck in through the goalie's glove. The Devils challenged but the officials upheld the no-goal call.
Nikita Gusev got the goal back for New Jersey, scooping up a turnover in the offensive zone and burying his third goal of the season at 12:21 of the third.
To put the icing on the cake, P.K. Subban, who had a strong game overall, potted the empty-netter to seal it with 48 seconds left.
Next up for the Devils is an afternoon home matchup against the Vancouver Canucks, which will feature Hughes squaring off against his brother Quinn.