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NHL Game Summary - Pittsburgh at New Jersey

(Tuesday, March 25th)

Final Score: Pittsburgh 2, New Jersey 0

Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Ryan Malone notched a goal and an assist, and Marc-Andre Fleury had a perfect night between the pipes as Pittsburgh clinched a postseason berth with a 2-0 win over the New Jersey Devils.

Fleury made 31 saves to earn his fourth shutout of the season and 11th of his career, as Pittsburgh took a huge step toward earning its first division title since winning the Northeast in 1998. The Pens now have 95 points, four better than the Devils in the Atlantic Division, and just one back of Eastern Conference-leading Montreal.

Marian Hossa also tallied for Pittsburgh, which played its seventh consecutive game without Sidney Crosby, who remains sidelined with a right ankle sprain. The injury has forced Crosby to miss 28 of the last 31 games, but the Pens are 3-1-0 in their last four and have won eight of their last 11 games overall.

"First of all, that was our third game in four days," said Pittsburgh head coach Michel Therrien. "You could see fatigue with some of the players, but in the meantime they (the Devils) were really, really desperate - they had nothing to lose. I thought we responded really well though."

Martin Brodeur turned aside 18-of-19 shots for New Jersey, which has been outscored 14-3 in going 0-3-1 in its last four games. It's the second time the Devils have gone winless in four straight games this season -- including an 0-3-1 stretch from October 18-27.

"You wanna be playing good hockey going into the playoffs, so I think we're playing well - I think tonight we played well, we just didn't score," said Devils center Zack Parise. "I don't think for us we're not complacent saying we've got a playoff spot, 'cause I don't think we've sealed one yet."

The Pens used an early power play to take a 1-0 lead, as they quickly cycled the puck down low to Malone, who one-timed a Ryan Whitney feed past Brodeur at the 5:18 mark of the opening period.

New Jersey tested Fleury nine times in the opening stanza, but was stonewalled. The Devils also had a goal waved off about nine minutes into the second period, after Arron Asham tore through the crease and bowled over the netminder.

The home squad also failed to break through in the third, as it couldn't shake a strong Pittsburgh penalty kill. Even during five-aside hockey, the Devils had a tough time generating offensive pressure, with a feverish effort failing to net the equalizer with about 7:35 to play.

Hossa added an empty-net tally with 42 seconds left to seal the win for Pittsburgh.

Game Notes

New Jersey was 0-for-3 on the power play, while Pittsburgh went 1-- for-2...Devils forward Patrik Elias was back in the lineup after missing two games due to illness...Brodeur is 40-25-6 this season, but just 3-4-0 in seven starts against the Penguins.

03/25 23:39:23 ET

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