Brent Sutter's new club blitzed his old one.
Sutter's slumping Calgary Flames scored five unanswered goals and breezed to a 5-3 victory over New Jersey on Friday night in the first meeting between the teams since Sutter stepped down as Devils coach last spring -- only to join the Flames a few weeks later.
Sutter spent much of the last couple of days answering questions about coaching against the team he left after last spring's first-round playoff loss to Carolina. He insisted afterwards that beating his old team was no more special than any other win -- something the Flames haven't been doing a lot of lately.
"My focus is to win hockey games," he said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for everyone in that organization. I learned a lot there in two years.
"Tonight's game was a game we needed to play well to have success," he said. "I know better than anyone else what kind of a team they have. They're a very good hockey team, and to have success against them, you have to battle and compete against them."
The Devils controlled play and led 1-0 after one period on a goal by Zach Parise before the Flames began to get pucks to the net.
Daymond Langkow beat Martin Brodeur with a backhander at 1:43 for his first goal in 22 games and the Flames' first in 107 minutes. Curtis Glencross put Calgary ahead to stay at 5:41 when he stole the puck from Ilya Kovalchuk at the left point, raced in alone and zipped a 15-foot wrister past Martin Brodeur for a shorthanded goal.
"I knew he's kind of a fancy kind of player and he was gonna try and go around me, and I just got a stick on it," Glencross said of stealing the puck. "I was kind of surprised, I thought the other D was closer to me."
Devils coach Jacques Lemaire didn't completely blame Kovalchuk, a forward playing the point on the power play.
"Usually, you can beat the guy," Lemaire said. "It's up to the player to decide what he will do at that moment when there's a player going on him. Sometimes he's got a chance to shoot. There he felt that he could beat him. It's a thing that happened. I can't blame him for that."
Glencross also had a hand in the third goal with a heavy check on defenseman Andy Greene that knocked the puck loose. Eric Nystrom drove hard across the top of the crease and nearly mishandled the puck before swatting it past Brodeur at 16:04.
Sutter said his team prospered by getting the puck to the net and driving for rebounds and loose pucks.
"You want to get in those areas, and when you get in those areas, good things will happen," Sutter said.
Matt Stajan and David Moss scored 33 seconds apart midway through the third period to make late goals by Parise and Kovalchuk nothing more than window dressing.
Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 22 shots for his first win in five career decisions against the Devils. Brodeur continued to struggle, allowing five goals on 25 shots.
"It was a tough game," said Brodeur, who surrendered four of the five goals off rebounds. "I was fighting the puck a lot and they were able to pick up some garbage goals around the net and just got to the loose pucks. I had a few bad rebounds and that was probably the story tonight."
With the victory, Calgary remained a point behind Detroit for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Flames won for just the fourth time in their last 13 home games.
"We got a real solid team effort," Sutter said.
New Jersey, which started the season 9-0-0 on the road, is 2-9-1 in its last 12 away from the Prudential Center. The Devils suffered their first loss at the Saddledome since March 5, 2003, and missed an opportunity to retake the Atlantic Division top spot. Pittsburgh holds a one-point lead, though the Devils with a game in hand.
"It's a game that we knew how (Calgary) would play," Lemaire said. "This is their game. It's a hard-working team, and you have to work harder. That's all."
Asked if his team had simply gotten a bad game out of its system, Lemaire added: "I wouldn't say a bad game, but let's say we can play a lot better."\
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report