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(Friday, December 13th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 3, New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Pascal Dupuis, Chris Conner and Jayson Megna tallied in a three-goal first-period burst which helped Pittsburgh hang on and edge New Jersey, 3-2, at CONSOL Energy Center.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 37 shots for the Penguins, winners in seven of their last eight to maintain a healthy lead in the Metropolitan Division.
Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus scored in the second period for the Devils, who have lost five of their last six. Cory Schneider shook off a poor start to make 20 saves in defeat.
"We have to be ready to go at the start of the game and the first period killed us," Devils head coach Peter DeBoer said. "It's great we had more shots and came back, but we have to get points. That's the bottom line."
Anton Volchenkov's dish from the left-wing boards caromed off the stick of Elias in front to put the Devils on the board at 3:24 of the second.
On the next shift, Jaromir Jagr flipped a shot on net from the left circle which Zubrus tipped and Fleury misplayed into the net to make it a 3-2 contest.
Fleury dove in his crease and made a paddle stop on Steve Bernier's backhander with five minutes played in the third and was equal to a Damien Brunner breakaway chance minutes later with a sweeping glove stop at the right post.
A late penalty on Adam Henrique prevented the Devils from gaining an extra skater until the clock ticked down inside a minute remaining, and the visitors couldn't find an equalizer.
"They didn't quit. They kept playing hard. They kept coming at us," Fleury said of the Devils applying pressure in the third. "It was nice to hold on and get those two points."
Dupuis opened the scoring just 41 seconds after the opening faceoff by poking a Chris Kunitz dump-in through Schneider, and Connor rushed up the middle and scored on the forehand at the 7:55 mark for a 2-0 game.
The hosts then assumed a three-goal edge with 5:20 left in the first, as Megna swept in the rebound of a Simon Despres shot. Schneider pleaded with the officials for a review, since Megna had stood right next to the Devils netminder for the entire sequence and obstructed his view of the puck.
Pittsburgh has won two of three against New Jersey this season, including both on home ice ... Both teams take the ice on Saturday, as the Penguins head to Detroit and the Devils host Tampa Bay.
12/14 00:15:44 ET
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