The Devils lead in shots, 11-9.
Vladimir Zharkov's first career NHL goal put the Devils ahead, 1-0. Mattias Tedenby took a pass from Jason Arnott at the right corner and skated toward the net. His backhand shot beat Isles goalie Kevin Poulin, but it deflected off the post and toward the crease. Zharkov came out from behind the net and backhanded it into the open net for the goal.
After he scored, Zharkov tripped and fell on the ice, then got up and pumped his first. It was an emotional and meaningful goal for Zharkov, who waited 49 NHL games for his first career goal.
Less than a minute later, Ilya Kovalchuk extended the lead to 2-0 with a powerplay goal. With Jack Hillen in the box for hooking, Andy Greene passed the puck to Kovalchuk in the top of the left circle. The Devils' left-winger fired a one-timer over Poulin's shoulder for his 13th goal of the season.
That score was Kovalchuk's third in as many games.
The bad blood between the two teams showed right from the puck drop. Anton Volchenkov, who missed two games after his father died, delivered a hit on Dylan Reese at center ice at 2:55 of the first period. Zenon Konopka took exception, shoving Volchenkov along the Devils' bench. Eventually, Konopka and Mark Fraser dropped the gloves. Fraser won the battle, delivering a series of rights before the officials stepped in.
David Clarkson and Matt Martin squared off at 16:39 of the period. Clarkson shoved Martin repeatedly along the side boards and dropped his gloves. Martin responded, and the players threw a couple of punches each before it was stopped.
The Devils haven't been the most disciplined team. They've took three minors in the first period and will face another powerplay chance early in the second period.