Pittsburgh Penguins' James Neal (18) and New Jersey Devils' Anton Volchenkov (28) collide during the second period of an NHL hockey game on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Saturday, February 02, 2013 5:44 pm
Crosby gets 3 points, Penguins beat Devils 5-1
By DAN SCIFOAssociated Press
Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo scored his first NHL goal, Brandon Sutter got his first with Pittsburgh and Kris Letang also found the back of the net for the Penguins, who handed the Devils their first loss in regulation this season.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 15 shots for the win. Evgeni Malkin and Pascal Dupuis had two assists apiece.
Andy Greene scored a short-handed goal for the Devils. Martin Brodeur was sharp through two periods, stopping 17 of 19 shots, but allowed three goals in the third as the Penguins turned a one-goal game into a rout.
The Penguins had been the only NHL team yet to earn a point at home. They were outscored 9-3 in losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders.
This time, Pittsburgh looked more like the team that shut out the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night as opposed to the sloppy defensive club that showed up during a 4-1 loss to the Islanders on Tuesday, when Fleury was pulled after two periods.
Sutter staked the Penguins to a 1-0 lead early in the second period, chipping his own rebound over Brodeur's pads. It was the seventh time in eight games that Pittsburgh scored first.
Kunitz took advantage of a fortunate bounce to give the Penguins a two-goal lead midway through the period. Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov whiffed on a breakout attempt in his own zone and the puck slid to Kunitz, who was there to wrist a shot past Brodeur from between the circles.
The Penguins tried to take a three-goal lead on the power play, but the Devils cut the deficit in half with their NHL-best second short-handed goal of the season. Dainius Zubrus sent a spinning feed along the boards to a streaking Greene in the slot, and he went to the backhand to beat Fleury, making it 2-1.
Letang started the third-period outburst less than 3 minutes in, sneaking into the slot to put a shot past Brodeur. Crosby made it 4-1, finishing a rush down the left-wing boards with a wrist shot.
Bortuzzo scored the first of his career 2 minutes later, when his shot from the point rolled awkwardly between Brodeur's pads.
NOTES: First-round draft pick Stefan Matteau was scratched for the Devils, who are deciding whether to return him to junior hockey after playing in five NHL games. ... Devils D Mark Fayne missed the game with an arm injury, while D Ben Lovejoy, C Dustin Jeffrey and C Eric Tangradi were scratched for the Penguins. ... It was the first of three games between the teams in nine days. . Pittsburgh travels to Washington on Sunday in a game that will be nationally televised on NBC, while New Jersey visits the New York Islanders.