NHL Game Summary - Pittsburgh at New Jersey
(Wednesday, October 5th)
Final Score: New Jersey 5, Pittsburgh 1
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Brian Gionta ended with two goals and an assist as the New Jersey Devils slammed the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-1, and spoiled the NHL debut of phenom Sidney Crosby in the season opener for both teams at the Meadowlands.
Sergei Brylin added two goals for the Devils, while rookie Zach Parise notched his first career tally. Martin Brodeur stopped 36-of-37 shots for New Jersey, which is now 17-7 with seven ties in season openers.
Crosby, the most highly anticipated rookie in several years, did record his first career point in the loss, assisting on a Mark Recchi goal.
The 18-year-old Crosby was selected first-overall by the Pens in the July Entry Draft. Pittsburgh won an unprecedented draft lottery that included all 30 teams following the ratification of the new collective bargaining agreement.
"Playing in the NHL is obviously a dream come true. After that, you play to win and that doesn't change no matter where you play," said Crosby.
Veteran goaltender Jocelyn Thibault made his Penguins debut and was torched for five goals on 37 shots. Pittsburgh fell to 15-17 with six ties in season openers all-time.
The Devils grabbed a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals in the final five minutes of the opening period.
Brylin started the scoring with 3:05 remaining in the first. Dan McGillis' slap shot from the point was stopped by Thibault, but Brylin collected the rebound in the right circle and backhanded the puck into the net.
Parise pushed New Jersey's edge to 2-0 when he scored a power-play goal with just 35 seconds left. After a wrist shot from Gionta was turned aside by Thibault, Parise collected a loose puck and jammed it inside the right post.
"I'm very happy for Zach. With all the hype, and rightfilly so, for Sidney, we think we have a pretty good player on our club in Zach," said Devils head coach Larry Robinson.
The Devils went ahead by three goals on Gionta's unassisted tally with 3:32 left in the second.
Recchi's power-play goal came at 5:36 of the third period and cut the deficit to 4-1. John LeClair fought for a loose puck in the corner and knocked it free to Crosby. The youngster then skated towards goal before sending a nice pass through the crease for Recchi, who redirected the puck over the line.
"I think for me, at the end of the day, I play to win," said Crosby. "It's still nice to get a point. I'm not going to complain about that."
Brylin's scored his second goal of the game on a nice wrister from the slot.
Pittsburgh captain/team owner Mario Lemieux celebrated his 40th birthday on Wednesday...New Jersey has won eight of its last nine meetings with the Penguins...The Devils converted on 2-of-8 power play opportunities, while Pittsburgh scored on one of 11 chances with the man advantage.
10/05 23:51:14 ET