The New Jersey Devils
' hot streak came to an end Wednesday night in a place they haven't had any success for 15 years.
Valtteri Filppula scored 5:32 into the third period to break a 1-1 tie and Johan Franzen added a late insurance goal to give the Detroit Red Wings a 3-1 win against the Devils, snapping New Jersey's four-game winning streak and a 6-0-1 non-losing streak in regulation.
The Devils won both games at Joe Louis Arena while sweeping the 1995 Stanley Cup Final, But they've won just once at The Joe since then -- and not at all in nine tries since Nov. 6, 1996. Brian Rolston scored and Martin Brodeur made 26 saves for New Jersey, which reached the All-Star break last in the overall standings despite the recent surge.
Despite a raft of injuries, Detroit enters the All-Star break in second place in the Western Conference. The Red Wings were again without Pavel Datsyuk, Mike Modano, Danny Cleary and Tomas Holmstrom, among others.
"Obviously, we're going to be a better team after the break with getting our guys back," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "We're better this year. Last year we didn't have the depth that we do this year."
Filppula's goal snapped a 1-1 tie. New Jersey thought it had tied the game with 2:28 remaining in regulation, but referee Dave Jackson rules that Ilya Kovalchuk shoved goalie Jimmy Howard onto the net.
"He waved it off right away and said I pushed the goalie's pad," Kovalchuk said.
Devils coach Jacques Lemaire thought the goal should have counted.
"I've seen a lot of goals like that in my little career that wasn't called," Lemaire said. "But I guess they felt it was no goal that time."
Franzen scored with 43.6 seconds to play after the Devils were unable to pull Brodeur for an extra skater, sending the Wings into the break with a win after Saturday's disappointing 4-1 home loss to Chicago.
"When you look at all the injuries that we've had, the way we've been able to stay in the standings says a lot about our character and our team and our management and coaching staff," said goalie Jimmy Howard, who was in his third game back from a bruised right kneecap.
Detroit came out strong in the third period and went ahead when Jiri Hudler fed Filppula with a cross-ice pass for a wrist shot from the slot that beat Brodeur for his 12th goal of the season.
Howard made the best of his 23 saves later in the period when he stopped Dainius Zubrus on a 3-on-1 that began when Detroit's Patrick Eaves went down injured at center ice. Officials let play continue at first but then gave Rolston a double minor for high-sticking. The Wings had a two-man advantage during the second half of the double minor when Mark Fayne was called for delay of game at 13:21 after shooting the puck into the crowd, but were unable to capitalize.
The Devils are in last place in the East, only now beginning to recover from their terrible start, which included a right knee injury to Zach Parise that has kept the left wing out since Oct. 30.
Darren Helm opened the scoring 1:43 into the game, stealing the puck from New Jersey's Mark Fraser, skating in alone on Brodeur and beating the goaltender high to the glove side.
"He's been playing really well," Filppula said of the speedy Helm. "Obviously, today, really nice goal and had a lot of energy and a lot of jump. He's definitely a really important guy for us."
The Devils tied it at 6:35 when Howard was handcuffed by a shot from the left side. He stopped it but left a rebound, and Rolston jammed away at the puck before nudging it into the net.
Despite the loss, Lemaire said the Devils are going into the break on an upswing.
"I'm seeing positives, there's no doubt," he said. "There's certain guys that they have to play better. It's that simple. You've got to touch the puck in a game. You've got to make a play in a game. And I'm talking about a few guys. If we get these guys going, we'll be OK."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report