Devils defenseman Andy Greene scored the go-ahead goal on a power play and Kyle Palmieri converted on an odd-man rush with Taylor Hall to lead New Jersey over the struggling Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Cory Schneider made 28 saves and Pavel Zacha added a goal as New Jersey won for the fourth time in six games (4-1-1) in its push to make the playoffs.
Jeremy Smith stopped 37 shots in his NHL debut after seven seasons in the minor leagues. Recent waiver pickup Mark Barberio and Mikhail Grigorenko scored for Colorado, which has lost four straight and is 4-22-1 in its last 27 games.
The win was only the Devils' second against the Avalanche in 11 games.
Greene, who had his streak of 350 consecutive games played snapped on Jan. 6, scored his first goal since Dec. 3 with a shot from the left point. It came after Travis Zajac won a faceoff three seconds after Andreas Martinsen was penalized for hooking.
The goal at 8:55 of the second period was initially waived off because the officials thought Miles Wood interfered with Smith. The Devils challenged the call and the ruling was overturned after the replay showed the interference came after the puck was in the net.
Palmieri stretched the lead to 3-1 at 16:25 of the second period. He picked up a loose puck at center ice, sent it to Hall and then took a return pass in close for a shot into an open net.
Grigorenko cut it to 3-2 with 1:26 left in the period. Matt Duchene stole the puck in the Devilsend and found the forward between the circles for his sixth goal.
Smith, who kept Colorado in the game, gave up a goal 2:04 after the opening faceoff.
A turnover in the Avalanche end set up Jacob Josefson for a shot from the right circle. Smith knocked it down with his glove and made a stop on a rebound in close by Stefan Noesen, but had no chance on a backhand by Zacha.
Barberio tied it with a power-play goal at 6:43 of the second. The former Montreal Canadiens player took a great cross-ice pass from Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog for a shot into an open net.
NOTES: Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard got the night off after playing in five straight games and seven of eight. ... Devils D Jon Merrill was activated and returned to the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury. ... The 24-year-old Landeskog played in his 400th NHL game. ... Barberio's previous goal came against Minnesota on March 12 last season.
Avalanche: At the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night in the fourth stop on a five-game road trip, their longest of the season.
Devils: Host the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.