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Streaking Devils, Pens clash in New Jersey

Feb 5, 2012 - 2:59 PM (Sports Network) - A pair of streaking Atlantic Division rivals square off this afternoon as the New Jersey Devils try to match their longest winning streak of the season against the rolling Pittsburgh Penguins.

After dropping their final three games before the All-Star break, the Devils have responded with three straight victories to pull within three points of the Penguins for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has won nine of its last 10 and has gotten within two points of Philadelphia for the conference's fourth seed.

The Devils stretched their winning streak on Saturday with a 6-4 win over the hosting Flyers, scoring the game's first six goals before getting outshot 24-1 in a third period that also featured all four of Philadelphia's goals. Still, two power-play goals from Kurtis Foster and a goal and two assists by Ilya Kovalchuk was enough to help the Devils sneak out a win.

"Philadelphia is one of the highest-scoring teams in the league and you get into this building, momentum shifts and the crowd gets into it. You can see what can happen," New Jersey head coach Peter DeBoer said when asked if he was concerned going into the third. "We did enough to win. Like I said, this isn't an easy place to win in. We will take it."

The Devils went 3-for-7 on the power play and Johan Hedberg stopped 17 saves through two periods and ended with 37 stops on 41 shots faced overall.

New Jersey now looks to match its season-high four-game win streak from Dec. 12-17 despite still having a number of injured players out of action. That list includes Travis Zajac, Henrik Tallinder, Adam Henrique, Adam Larsson and Ryan Carter.

The Penguins, of course, remain without superstar Sidney Crosby as well as solid center Jordan Staal, but that hasn't stopped the club from playing well as of late. Pittsburgh rebounded from losing the opener of a four-game swing in Toronto 1-0 on Wednesday with yesterday's 2-1 victory over Boston.

Evgeni Malkin and Matt Cooke scored goals and Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves for his ninth straight win. It is the second-longest win streak of his career behind only an 11-game run from Nov. 17-Dec. 11 of last season.

"It was a tight game all the way through," Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said. "They had a goal there to get back to one and every player had to go out there and play good team defense. We got a lot of good efforts and it was a huge win for us."

Malkin's 28th goal of the season -- second most in the NHL -- was also his league-leading 60th point. He has points in eight of his last 10 games, with 15 in that span.

The Devils have won their last two meetings with the Penguins by identical 3-1 scores and have taken three straight and seven of the past eight played between the foes in New Jersey.


    Feb 5 3:29 PM

  • New Jersey Empty Net Goal - David Clarkson (20), at 19:13.

    Penguins 2, Devils 5  3rd - 0:47Feb 5 3:28 PM
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    Penguins 2, Devils 5  3rd - 0:47Feb 5 3:28 PM
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    Penguins 2, Devils 4  3rd - 4:40Feb 5 3:22 PM

  • Pittsburgh Power-Play Goal - Evgeni Malkin (29), at 11:43.

    Penguins 2, Devils 4  3rd - 8:17Feb 5 3:13 PM

    End of 2nd

    Feb 5 2:39 PM

  • New Jersey Goal - Zach Parise (20), at 11:22.

    Penguins 1, Devils 4  2nd - 8:38Feb 5 2:23 PM
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    Penguins 1, Devils 4  2nd - 8:38Feb 5 2:23 PM

  • Pittsburgh Power-Play Goal - Matt Niskanen (3), from Cal O'Reilly and Matt Cooke at 3:02.

    Penguins 1, Devils 3  2nd - 16:58Feb 5 2:07 PM

  • New Jersey Short-Handed Goal - Zach Parise (20), from Ilya Kovalchuk at 2:28.

    Penguins 0, Devils 3  2nd - 17:32Feb 5 2:05 PM
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    Penguins 0, Devils 3  2nd - 17:32Feb 5 2:05 PM

    End of 1st

    Feb 5 1:44 PM

  • New Jersey Goal - Anton Volchenkov, at 9:33.

    Penguins 0, Devils 2  1st - 10:27Feb 5 1:26 PM

  • New Jersey Goal - Ilya Kovalchuk (22), at 2:21.

    Penguins 0, Devils 1  1st - 17:39Feb 5 1:13 PM

    1st Period - 20:00

    Feb 5 1:08 PM
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    Penguins vs. DevilsJun 24 6:02 AM