It’s time for the Devils to take this Eastern Conference playoff race outside.

Taking advantage of the fact the Washington Capitals were without 35-goal scorer Alex Ovechkin, the Devils and goalie Cory Schneider held on to a 2-1 victory Friday night at Prudential Center and then turned their attention to the Stadium Series.

They will be the home team in Sunday's outdoor game against the Rangers in Yankee Stadium, and while Schneider has picked up at least one point in six straight starts (4-0-2), Martin Brodeur is the sentimental favorite to start in the Bronx. Even Schneider seems to feel the way.

“It’s a pretty special game and Marty’s been a big part of this and gotten a lot of wins for us this year,” Schneider said. “If (coach Pete DeBoer) chooses me, that’s great. But I think this is maybe a game that would mean a lot to Marty, having never played in an outdoor game in his career. I’m sure he would really enjoy it.”

DeBoer, who has given Schneider six of the team’s last eight starts, has said sentimentality will come into play.

“It’s a tough decision. To both guys’ credit. they’ve made it a very tough decision,” DeBoer said. “I’m going to sleep on it tonight and we’ll make the decision first thing tomorrow.”

Schneider stopped 30 shots in getting his record to ,500 for the first time this season (9-9-7).

“He was the difference tonight,” DeBoer said. “I thought he was by far our best player.”

DeBoer has been looking for one of his goalies to go on a run and Schneider seems to be the one.

“He has been. He’s been on a real good roll,” DeBoer said. “You can’t discount the games Marty has given us, too. In Montreal he was fantastic. We’ve been getting the kind of goaltending we need from both guys in order to compete for a playoff spot in the stretch.”

Stephen Gionta, playing in his 100th NHL game, gave the Devils a 1-0 lead at 4:57 of the opening period when he scored on a shot from the right circle. The puck deflected off goalie Michal Neuvirth's shoulder and into the net for Gionta's third goal of the season.

Defenseman Marek Zidlicky drew a holding penalty from Dmitry Orlov 41 seconds into the second period and it allowed the Devils to take a 2-0 lead.

Jaromir Jagr tied Mario Lemieux for 10th place on the NHL’s all-time assist list with his second of the game and 1,033rd of his career when he set up Adam Henrique's power play goal at 1:45. Holding onto the puck in the left circle to draw the Capitals to him, Jagr threw a cross-slot pass to Henrique below the right circle and he did not miss the open net.

“That was a great play by Jags," DeBoer noted. "Not many guys in this league can make that play. He’s one of a handful and that’s why he is where he is on the all-time list.”