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Devils cap successful weekend with 2nd straight win over Pens
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - David Clarkson scored a pair of goals on Sunday, as the New Jersey Devils completed a sweep of a home-and-home series against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 3-1 triumph at CONSOL Energy Center.
Ilya Kovalchuk also lit the lamp, while Johan Hedberg turned away 23-of-24 shots to help the Devils earn their fifth consecutive victory.
"It was a real gutsy effort," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "We had to dig deep. We didn't have a lot juice left in the tank and we found a way."
James Neal scored the lone goal for Pittsburgh, which had won five straight before dropping a 3-1 decision on Saturday in Newark.
Tomas Vokoun allowed all three goals on 23 shots in the setback.
New Jersey struck first late in the opening stanza when Clarkson charged down the right wing and made his way into the slot before slipping a quick shot past the glove-side of Vokoun for a 1-0 lead at the 13:06 mark.
"The first goal I would like to have back," Vokoun said. "It's tough for goalies when you don't get shots."
A pair of goals just under two minutes apart in the second stanza provided the Devils with a 3-0 cushion.
Kovalchuk started the rally at the 11:27 mark when he corralled a loose puck at the red line and raced in on a 2-on-1 before ripping a snap shot from the left circle that slipped through the five-hole of Vokoun.
After Neal was whistled for cross-checking under a minute later, Clarkson camped out in front and pounded home a rebound off a Patrik Elias' blast to make it 3-0 with 6:40 left in the second.
A slashing penalty against New Jersey's Stephen Gionta late in the second helped Pittsburgh break through just 15 seconds into the third.
Evgeni Malkin received a long feed at the New Jersey blue line and made a nice pass to Chris Kunitz in the slot. Kunitz then one-touched the puck to the right circle for Neal, who one-timed a blast past Hedberg to bring the Penguins within 3-1.
Hedberg would hold firm from there, however, stopping the final eight shots he faced to send the Devils to victory.
New Jersey now owns a three-point lead over Pittsburgh atop the Atlantic Division ... Pittsburgh fell to 2-3-0 at home, while New Jersey improved to 3-1-2 on the road ... New Jersey finished 1-for-1 on the power play ... Pittsburgh went 1-for-3 on the man advantage.
02/10 23:34:39 ET