NEWARK, N.J. — Backup goalie Johan Hedberg made 28 saves and the New Jersey Devils beat the Atlanta Thrashers 3-1 on Friday to snap a six-game losing streak and give Jacques Lemaire his first victory since replacing John MacLean behind the bench.
Lemaire lost his first three games after taking over for the fired MacLean on Dec. 23.
Rookie defenseman Mark Fayne scored his second NHL goal, captain Jamie Langenbrunner had his first in more than a month and Ilya Kovalchuk also scored for New Jersey.
Dustin Byfuglien had his 15th goal for Atlanta. He leads NHL defenseman in goals and points (40).
Hedberg has five victories in 12 starts this season, while Martin Brodeur was five in 24 starts.
Atlanta, coming off a shootout loss to Boston at home Thursday night, lost for the fifth time in six games.
Byfuglien cut it to 2-1 with 7:46 left, but Kovalchuk beat Chris Mason on a breakaway 1:26 later to restore the two-goal margin.
Fayne scored at 1:18 of the first period on the Devils' second shot of the game, firing a blast from the left point that sailed high to the right corner. His first goal was Dec. 15 against Phoenix in the Devils' last victory.
Arnott assisted on the goal, and also set up Langenbrunner's goal at 1:01 of the second.
Atlanta defenseman Freddy Meyer tried to skate with the puck behind his own net, but Arnott chased Meyer down, stole the puck, then slid it in front to Langenbrunner, who alertly slapped the puck past Mason. It was Langenbrunner's fourth goal of the season and first since Nov. 10 against Buffalo.
The Thrashers had a tough time in the second period. With their lone power-play opportunity, they squandered one chance when two Thrashers collided with each other and another when Alexander Burmistrov lost his balance with an open shot and skated past the puck, enabling the Devils to take the two-goal advantage into the final period. New Jersey is 7-0-1 when leading after two periods.
Hedberg got the start in goal because Brodeur has struggled in recent outings, including getting pulled in the second period of Atlanta's 7-1 win over the Devils on Dec. 18. Since returning from an elbow injury that forced him to miss eight games, Brodeur is 1-9, including all six losses in New Jersey's losing streak.
Brodeur is expected to be in goal Saturday night at Carolina.
NOTES: When the Devils scored first, it was only the eighth time in the last 28 games that Atlanta failed to score first. ... Atlanta entered play as the NHL's third-best scoring team, averaging 3.1 goals. The Devils are the league's lowest-scoring team with 64 goals. .. Veteran forward Brian Rolston was a healthy scratch for the Devils. He was placed on re-entry waivers Wednesday and wasn't claimed by another NHL team..