NHL Game Summary - Pittsburgh at New Jersey
(Friday, March 12th)
Final Score: New Jersey 3, Pittsburgh 1
Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Ilya Kovalchuk posted a goal and two assists and Martin Brodeur stopped 34 shots as New Jersey clipped Pittsburgh, 3-1, at Prudential Center.
Patrik Elias and Andy Greene also scored for the Devils, who have won two in a row and climbed to within two points of Pittsburgh for the Atlantic Division lead.
"There's no explanation for that except that you need a little luck and I think we've had some luck at different times," said Devils head coach Jacques Lemaire of his club allowing a mere three goals in five games against the Pens. "When you do, you build up some confidence and guys play their best game."
Sidney Crosby tallied the lone goal for the Penguins, who dropped their second in a row after winning four straight. Marc-Andre Fleury was tagged for three goals on 32 shots in defeat.
Greene's sizzling one-timer off a long rebound put the Devils up 2-1 at the 2:06 mark of the third period, then New Jersey assumed a two-goal edge on a disputed play.
Kovalchuk fired a floating wrister from near the bottom of the right circle, and Fleury appeared to have the shot tracked into his glove -- until Devils forward Travis Zajac skated in and pushed the glove away from the puck, allowing it to sail into the back of the net.
Despite Fleury's animated protests that he was the victim of interference, it was 3-1 at 9:59.
"The ref said he didn't hit my glove. I told him he did and the ref said no," was Fleury's terse answer when asked about the situation.
The Pens, who failed to convert a pair of power plays in the third, went with an extra attacker for the final 1:29 of regulation to no avail.
Elias ripped a shot past Fleury 1:43 after the opening faceoff, but Crosby converted a 2-on-1 just 42 seconds later.
The Devils had a prime chance to seize control of the game just over four minutes into the second period when Pittsburgh forward Craig Adams was given a major for boarding and a game misconduct for illegally checking defenseman Martin Skoula.
New Jersey failed to score, and didn't test Fleury during the entire advantage.
Kovalchuk was then dragged down from behind on a breakaway with 1:49 left in the second period and was awarded a penalty shot, but wristed the puck into Fleury's pads.
New Jersey has won all five meetings this season, and six of the last seven over Pittsburgh since January, 2009...The Devils play at the Islanders on Saturday and the Penguins are in Tampa on Sunday.
03/12 23:47:54 ET