EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. The improving Atlanta Thrashers still have a long way to go to match the New Jersey Devils.
John Madden scored twice and Martin Brodeur had 19 saves in posting his third shutout of the season as the Devils ended a two-game losing streak by beating the Thrashers 4-0 on Monday night.
"If you want to move up in the standings you have to beat these teams," Brodeur said after recording his third shutout in six career starts against the Thrashers. "The teams that are under you, you have to go in and be ready and not let it slip away. You have to win the games you're supposed to win and tonight was one of them."
Sergei Nemchinov and Alexander Mogilny also scored as the Devils prevented the second-year Thrashers from reaching the .500 mark for the first time in their history.
Atlanta had won two in a row and five of their last six coming into the game, but remained winless in six games (0-5-1) against New Jersey over the last two seasons.
"We just had no juice tonight," Thrashers coach Curt Fraser said. "The guys were working their tails off but they just had no jump in their step."
The Devils dominated from the outset as the Thrashers struggled in their third game in four nights.
Apparent goals by Scott Gomez and Jay Pandolfo were waved off, and only an outstanding job in goal by Scott Frankhouser (40 saves) made the score respectable.
Madden gave the Devils the lead for good at 4:42 of the second period, shortly after Gomez's apparent goal was waved off.
Bobby Holik took a shot from the right circle that Frankhouser knocked down. Madden flicked the rebound on net and the goaltender knocked the puck down in the crease. In the ensuing scramble, Randy McKay's skate hit the goaltender's glove and the puck went into the net.
The goal was reviewed and allowed to stand. It was Madden fifth goal in six games against the Thrashers.
"Randy said it was his goal, but I don't care," Madden said. "It went in. That's all that mattered."
Devils forward Petr Sykora said the first goal was really the decisive one.
"It wasn't pleasant hockey to watch," Sykora said. "They keep four guys back and the ice was horrible. But once we got the first goal, they had to open up a bit and we got more and more chances."
Lightning 2, Avalanche 2
Denver Mike Johnson scored 20 seconds into a late-game power play to help Tampa Bay secure a tie.
Chris Drury and Ray Bourque had goals for the Avalanche, who had their three-game winning streak snapped but remained unbeaten in their last 10 home games (8-0-2).
Colorado, which beat Tampa Bay 2-0 last Friday, led 2-1 before Stephane Yelle was called for hooking Vincent Lecavalier with 3:16 remaining in the third period.
The Lightning quickly capitalized as Johnson pushed a shot from the slot past Avs goalie David Aebischer. The shot came after Colorado defenseman Aaron Miller failed to clear the puck.
The Avalanche own the NHL's best record (21-5-4).