NEWARK, N.J. - John Madden would have handed out a lot of assists on his go-ahead, short-handed goal late in the third period for the New Jersey Devils.
Every teammate either on the ice or on the bench who screamed at him to break into the Toronto Maple Leafs' zone and score would have been rewarded after the Devils 3-2 win on Friday night.
Until the screams, Madden was ready to dump the puck into the Toronto zone and end his penalty-killing shift.
"When I was racing for the puck, I knew it was (Jason) Blake on my shoulder and I had all intentions of clearing it down the ice," Madden said after scoring his 14th career short-handed goal and first in two seasons. "Then I heard someone on the bench say: 'You got him."'
Zach Parise, who added what proved to be a much-needed goal less than two minutes later, said everyone on the bench was yelling for Madden to challenge Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala.
"You could definitely hear the bench yelling for him to go because he is such a great skater," Parise said.
Madden took their advice after picking up defenceman Andy Greene's pass in centre ice. He skated in on Toskala and beat him with a shot over the glove to break a 1-all tie with 4:12 to play.
"I thought Kabby was coming over," Blake said. "But he (Madden) was there and got the puck. I really don't think it would have mattered."
The goal was the sixth of the season for Madden, who is now tied with linemate Jay Pandolfo for the team lead. In recent years, they have been the two key members of New Jersey's checking line.
"What can I say about that guy," Parise said of Madden. "This year he has been on fire. That's a huge goal shorthanded in a 1-1. That's a backbreaker for the opposing team."
Parise added what proved to be the game-winner 97 seconds later on a rebound.
"It seemed like I had five (cracks) at it," Parise said. "One shot was blocked by the D, then another, a third and the fourth one went in."
David Clarkson added a goal and Martin Brodeur stopped 26 shots and picked up an assist as the Devils won consecutive games for only the second time this season.
Alex Steen scored a spectacular goal and Mats Sundin banked in a flukey one with 32 seconds to play for the Maple Leafs, who lost their second straight game.
Coming into the game, the Maple Leafs had one of the worst power plays in the league. They converted on 1-of-5 chances but they also gave up the go-ahead goal by allowing their fourth short-handed goal of the season.
Sundin made the final minute interesting, scoring his seventh goal by banking the puck off Brodeur from behind the net with Toronto on a power play and their net empty.
There were only two goals scored in the first two periods and both were set up by long passes off the sideboards by defencemen.
Steen's game-tying goal was highlight reel material.
Kaberle started the play with a pass from his own defensive circle up the left boards to Jiri Tlusty. The rookie carried the puck into the Devils' zone and dropped it back. Steen collected the puck, put it between his legs to get past defenceman Vitaly Vishnevski and then beat Brodeur with a backhander with 9:04 left in the second period.
Devils defenceman Mike Mottau set up Clarkson's first goal of the season with an angled cross-ice pass from his own end to the right blue-line. Clarkson got around Maple Leafs defenceman Andy Wozniewski as the puck bounced off the boards and beat Toskala one-on-one with a backhander.
Notes: Brodeur's assist was the 28th of his career. ... Devils D Karel Rachunek missed his second straight game because of a groin injury. ... Toronto D Bryan McCabe missed his fifth straight game due to a groin injury. ... Maple Leafs F Mark Bell will be eligible to play on Tuesday against Ottawa. He was suspended for the first 15 games by the NHL for a drinking and driving incident. ... All five of the Devils wins this season have come in games where they scored the first goal.