for this game

Penguins erupt in third to trounce Devils

Mar 23, 2008 - 5:19 AM
PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- After a tightly contested first 40 minutes, Ryan Malone and Evgeni Malkin decided to break open the game in the third period.

Malone and Pascal Dupuis scored early in the third and Malkin netted a pair of goals midway through the period as the Pittsburgh Penguins cruised to a 7-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday in a battle of Atlantic Division powerhouses.

Malone also tallied in the second period, Jarkko Ruutu netted a first-period goal and Petr Sykora scored and added two assists for Pittsburgh (43-25-7), which moved two points ahead of New Jersey (42-26-7) for the top spot in the Atlantic.

"This was a very important game for us," Malkin said through an interpreter. "We tried to win the game to get into first place. We played very hard."

"We want to play Game Sevens here at home, and if we can do it the whole Eastern Conference playoffs, that's our goal," Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney added. "We're looking to finish first and go from there."

Marian Hossa collected three assists and All-Star defenseman Sergei Gonchar added two for the Penguins, who scored five times in the third and improved to 6-0-2 in their last eight home games.

"When you play against a team like the Devils that can play really well defensively like they do, you don't expect a third period like that," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. "(New Jersey) played last night, so fatigue may have been a factor. I am really excited about scoring seven goals against a team like this."

Brian Gionta scored the lone goal for the Devils, who fell to 0-2-1 in their last three, scoring once in each of those contests.

"Right now, we're too worried about the result than about the process, if that makes any sense," New Jersey captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. "We're trying to score before we have the puck, trying to score while playing defense. We're trying to score when we should be trying to get the puck. We have to get ourselves back to trying to win the battles and playing the games, and the goals will take care of themselves."

"It's definitely a burden, I think, on everybody," Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur added about the team's lack of offense. "I think everyone's pressing to try to find answers for the reason why we aren't scoring goals. From power plays to 5-on-5, we're trying to create, and sometimes that leaves you more vulnerable because of it. I think hopefully this is a wake-up call."

The teams meet again in New Jersey on Tuesday.

"It's both a curse and a blessing," Langenbrunner said. "It's a great opportunity for us to rebound and show that this isn't our team and the way we play. We have to be excited about that opportunity and grasp it. We have to come out and play our best game."

"It has to be a wake-up call," Devils coach Brent Sutter added. "It's a tough league and every game is a tough game. You score one goal a game in the last three games, it's tough to get much accomplished that way."

Ruutu opened the scoring 90 seconds into the game, but Gionta drew New Jersey even at 9:04 with a shorthanded goal. Malone answered with a shorthander during a 2-on-1 rush with Dupuis late in the second before Pittsburgh turned it into overdrive in the final period.

"(Dupuis) made a great play to handle (my) pass and make a great pass back," Malone said of his goal.

"We played pretty well for the first 35 minutes of that game," Langenbrunner said. "Then a shorthanded goal and we collapsed from there. The third period was a lot of mistakes and and a lot of frustrations."

Sutter believed Malone's shorthander was the turning point.

"You're tied, 1-1, in a hockey game and you give up a terrible shorthanded goal from a (2-on-1) break from the hash marks in their zone," he said. "I really thought that changed the complexion of the game. From that point on, we made a lot of mental mistakes."

Malone began the third-period onslaught three minutes into the session, deflecting Gonchar's wrister from the blue line past Brodeur during a power play for his 26th of the season.

"Sometimes that's how it works," Malone said. "They played last night, so we wanted to kind of jump on them early and make sure we were getting pucks deep and making their (defensemen) skate and pay the price. I think from top to bottom, everyone did a good job."

Dupuis made it 4-1 at 4:51, whipping the puck by Brodeur from the right side of the net. That ended the night for the three-time Vezina Trophy winner, who yielded four goals on 19 shots.

Brodeur, however, did not believe playing for the second time in as many nights was the root of the problem.

"It shouldn't be a factor this time of year," he said. "Everyone's in good-enough shape to play back to back. It wasn't like it was a hard-fought game last night, so... Fatigue has nothing to do with the way we played."

Malkin continued the barrage against Kevin Weekes, walking to the right faceoff dot from the boards and firing a wrist shot past the backup netminder at 8:24 for his 100th point of the season.

"He's been dominant since the All-Star break and he's been the best player in the league, and no one can really question that," Whitney said. "He's led us with Sid (captain Sidney Crosby) going down and he's got my vote for MVP."

It also was the 21-year-old's eight goal in 15 career games against the Devils.

"Hopefully, I am going to continue scoring a lot of goals against New Jersey," he said.

The All-Star Russian completed his multi-goal effort with 8:39 remaining, scoring his 44th goal of the campaign from the inner edge of the right circle.

"I am having a lot of fun right now," Malkin said. "I am enjoying (it) because we have a great team and we are winning games. Especially on our home ice, we are winning the big games. It is fun and great to play right now."

Sykora capped the scoring against his former team with 1:42 to go, converting a perfect setup pass from Malkin, who trails Washington's Alex Ovechkin (106) by four points for the league lead in scoring.

"He's a beauty, for sure," Malone said of Malkin. "You wish the best for the kid. he works hard in practice and he's just a great team guy. Hopefully we can help him out with Ovechkin, but I think he'd rather be first in the conference than win the scoring title."

"You want your best player to elevate his game during big games," Therrien said. "When you have guys like Malkin, who played a great game tonight, and Hossa, who was fantastic, I was really impressed."

Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves for the Penguins, who have won seven of nine overall.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 1 0 0 1
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 5 7 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - JARKKO RUUTU 5 (MARIAN HOSSA) 1:30
    NJD - (SH) BRIAN GIONTA 21 (JOHN MADDEN) 9:04
    2ND PRD: PIT - (SH) EVGENI MALKIN 43 (PASCAL DUPUIS, BROOKS ORPIK)
    16:14
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) RYAN MALONE 25 (SERGEI GONCHAR, MARI

    Mar 22 10:08 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 1
    PITTSBURGH 7
    3RD PRD: PIT - PETR SYKORA 27 (EVGENI MALKIN, RYAN WHITNEY) 18:18

    Devils 1, Penguins 7  3rd - 1:42Mar 22 10:06 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 1
    PITTSBURGH 6
    3RD PRD: PIT - EVGENI MALKIN 45 (PETR SYKORA) 11:21

    Devils 1, Penguins 6  3rd - 8:39Mar 22 9:51 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 1
    PITTSBURGH 5
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) EVGENI MALKIN 44 (KRISTOPHER LETANG, PETR SYKORA)
    8:24

    Devils 1, Penguins 5  3rd - 11:36Mar 22 9:45 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 1
    PITTSBURGH 4
    3RD PRD: PIT - PASCAL DUPUIS 12 (MARIAN HOSSA, SERGEI GONCHAR) 4:51

    Devils 1, Penguins 4  3rd - 15:09Mar 22 9:33 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 1
    PITTSBURGH 3
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) EVGENI MALKIN 44 (SERGEI GONCHAR, RYAN WHITNEY)
    3:00

    Devils 1, Penguins 3  3rd - 17:00Mar 22 9:30 PM
  • 15
    roots
    bigbelly Added 5 roots

    Devils 1, Penguins 2  3rd - 17:40Mar 22 9:25 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 1 0 1
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - JARKKO RUUTU 5 (MARIAN HOSSA) 1:30
    NJD - (SH) BRIAN GIONTA 21 (JOHN MADDEN) 9:04
    2ND PRD: PIT - (SH) EVGENI MALKIN 43 (PASCAL DUPUIS) 16:14
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- ---

    Mar 22 9:04 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 1
    PITTSBURGH 2
    2ND PRD: PIT - (SH) EVGENI MALKIN 43 (PASCAL DUPUIS) 16:14

    Devils 1, Penguins 2  2nd - 3:46Mar 22 8:58 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 1 1
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - JARKKO RUUTU 5 (MARIAN HOSSA) 1:30
    NJD - (SH) BRIAN GIONTA 21 (JOHN MADDEN) 9:04
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NJD 13 13
    PIT 8 8
    G

    Mar 22 8:15 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 1
    PITTSBURGH 1
    1ST PRD: NJD - (SH) BRIAN GIONTA 21 (JOHN MADDEN) 9:04

    Devils 1, Penguins 1  1st - 10:56Mar 22 7:57 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 0
    PITTSBURGH 1
    1ST PRD: PIT - JARKKO RUUTU 5 (MARIAN HOSSA) 1:30

    Devils 0, Penguins 1  1st - 18:30Mar 22 7:41 PM
  • 10
    roots
    jclaneve Added 5 roots

    Devils vs. PenguinsMar 12 2:01 AM
  • 5
    roots
    aqualung1 Added 5 roots

    Devils vs. PenguinsMar 1 12:40 PM