NEWARK, N.J. -- Slow starters during their recent losing streak, the Los Angeles Kings reverted to a more successful formula Tuesday night, scoring twice on their first three shots, to snap a four-game skid with a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.
Anze Kopitar and Tanner Pearson provided the needed offensive jolt for the Kings (23-21-4) by giving them a 2-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
"Coming out in the first period like we did was big for us," Kopitar said. "Obviously getting the two points is huge for us."
The Kings are now 15-5-2 when scoring the game's first goal and 11-1-1 when leading after one period.
Kings goalie Peter Budaj posted his 21st victory of the season by stopping 24 of 25 shots. He lost his shutout bid at 7:19 of the third period when Kyle Quincey's shot deflected off a Kings defenseman and into the net.
Budaj did make two stellar saves in the third -- a spinning stick stop on Kyle Palmieri at 4:32 and a diving pad save to rob Jacob Josefson on the doorstep at 8:05 -- as the Kings maintained their lead.
"The score didn't dictate the way we played," Devils center Travis Zajac said. "We were on pucks, making plays, and made smart decisions, had some opportunities. They just scored more on their (opportunities)."
The Devils (20-20-9) are now winless in their last five games on home ice (0-4-1) and have just one victory at the Prudential Center since early January (1-6-1).
Kopitar, the Kings captain and eight-time 20-goal scorer who has struggled mightily to light the lamp this season, got Los Angeles off on the right foot. He zipped a right-wing shot past Devils goalie Cory Schneider for a power play goal just 50 seconds into the game.
Almost hard to fathom is that the goal was only the fifth this season for Kopitar and just his second in his last 19 games.
"Other than the goal scoring, I have no problems with Kopi's game," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said after the game. "He's one of the best players in the league. He's on the level with (Jonathan) Toews and (Patrice) Bergeron and guys like that. Other than his goals being off, he's an awesome player."
Pearson made it 2-0 at 1:46 of the first period, swatting a loose puck over Schneider's shoulder for his 15th goal of the season.
The Devils had an excellent chance to get right back in the game later in the first when the Kings were assessed penalties 16 seconds apart. However, the Devils failed to score on their two-man advantage, managing three shots on goal and another by Adam Henrique that kissed iron instead of net.
"It was really important," Sutter said of that penalty kill. "It was almost a full two minutes. That doesn't happen very often."
Alec Martinez scored his seventh goal of the season at 16:15 of the opening period, poking a loose puck under Schneider one second after a Kings power play concluded, to make it 3-0.
When the second period started, Schneider was on the bench in favor of backup Keith Kinkaid. Schneider, who missed New Jersey's previous two games because of illness, allowed three goals on 12 shots.
"People may differ, but I didn't think any of them were bad goals necessarily," Schneider said. "At the same time ... when you give up three, you don't give a lot of evidence that you really should go back out there."
Neither team scored in the second period, though it appeared momentarily the Devils had at 6:14. The net was off its moorings before the puck crossed the goal line, however, and the apparent goal was immediately waved off.
Kinkaid stopped all 13 shots he faced in relief of Schneider, including one on a wide-open Marian Gaborik attempt off a Devils turnover midway through the second period.
Both teams have one game remaining before the NHL All-Star break. The Devils host the Washington Capitals on Thursday and the Kings travel to Raleigh to face the Carolina Hurricanes the same night.
-- The Kings were playing the third game of a five-game road trip. It marks their third trip of five games or more already this season.
-- Scratched for the Kings were D Matt Greene (undisclosed injury), C Nic Dowd (undisclosed injury) and D Tom Gilbert (healthy).
-- The Devils activated D Yohann Auvitu from injured reserve and assigned him to Albany (AHL).
-- The healthy scratches for New Jersey were RW Devante Smith-Pelly and D Seth Helgeson.