New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer placed a big emphasis on an early December game.
Zach Parise and Adam Henrique both had a goal and two assists to lead the Devils past the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 on Monday night.
Parise, Henrique and Ilya Kovalchuk each scored in the second period as the Devils broke open a tie game after both teams scored twice in the first.
Petr Sykora and Dainius Zubrus had the other goals for New Jersey, which had lost five of seven.
''It's an important game,'' DeBoer said. ''I think we're both spinning our wheels a little bit where we're sitting in the standings and both trying to get some traction and move up. It was a key two points.''
Steven Stamkos had two goals and an assist for the Lightning, losers of seven of eight. Steve Downie and Blair Jones also scored.
''We're finding ways to lose game right now,'' Stamkos said. ''We showed, obviously, a lot of character like we always do. That second period killed us. We dug ourselves a whole to big to climb ou...