Devils 3, Penguins 1By Jim Hague, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sat, Feb 9, 2013 4:01 PM EST
NEWARK, N.J. -- Adam Henrique scored a power-play goal with nine minutes left in regulation, snapping a 1-1 tie and giving the New Jersey Devils a well-earned 3-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins no Saturday afternoon at Prudential Center. Bobby Butler, who had an assist on Henrique's goal, scored a couple of minutes later to secure the win. It was Butler's first goal in almost a full year and his first with the Devils; he last scored on Feb. 15, 2012, when he was playing with Ottawa. The win was the fourth straight for the Devils (7-1-3), who remained undefeated at home (5-0-1) and avenged their lone loss of the season -- to Pittsburgh last week. The Penguins (8-4-0) saw their five-game winning streak end. The Devils had struggled with Pittsburgh in recent years, losing nine of 13 over the last three years. Stefan Matteau, an 18-year-old rookie, scored his first NHL goal in the second period for the Devils, tying the game at 1-1. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 25 shots in goal for Pittsburgh. Martin Brodeur was equally stingy, collecting 24 saves for the Devils and notching the 662nd win of his career in his 1,200th game. Before the game, Devils coach Peter DeBoer said a key to defeating the Penguins was to try to keep away from penalties. "We have to find a way to slow them down," DeBoer said. "They have a lot of speed, so we have to concentrate on staying out of the penalty box. We can't afford to let them get an easy one and give them some momentum." Well, it lasted for all of 48 seconds Saturday, as Devils forward David Clarkson drew a tripping penalty, putting the Penguins on the power play in the first minute. It came back to haunt the Devils, as Brandon Sutter deflected a shot from Simon Despres past Brodeur, giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead at the 1:23 mark of the first period. It was Sutter's third goal of the season. Sutter is the son of former Devils coach Brent Sutter. With 3:29 left in the second period, Matteau took advantage of a great play by defenseman Andy Greene, who made it look like he was taking a slap shot from the right point and slid the puck perfectly to a wide-open Matteau, who slapped the puck past a stationary Fleury for the tying goal. The Penguins benefitted by an interference penalty from Ryan Carter in the closing minutes and almost went ahead when Brodeur had the stick knocked from his hands and went behind the net. The Penguins had two shots on Brodeur without the stick, but he made pad saves on both. In the closing seconds of the penalty and the period, Brodeur went far to his right to retrieve the stick. Malkin alertly spotted Brodeur out of the crease and fired the puck on goal. The shot hit the right post, but a stumbling, off-balance Brodeur came back in time to kick the puck aside, then watched as the puck danced on the goal line before he dived on it. The game was tied at 1-1 heading into the third period. The Devils gained control midway through the third period, right after Tanner Glass went off for roughing. Butler started the play by firing a shot off the right post. The rebound went right to Henrique, who scored his fourth goal in just six games since returning from a thumb injury. Butler then scored with 6:52 left after Pascal Dupuis went off for elbowing. NOTES: Brodeur is the 93rd player to reach the 1,200-game plateau, but the first goalie. . . . The Devils were without right wing Dainius Zubrus (upper-body injury). Coach Peter DeBoer said it was doubtful that Zubrus would make the trip to Pittsburgh for Sunday's half of the home-and-home consecutive games. ... Talented Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang did not make the trip to New Jersey, diagnosed with a lower-body injury. Before the game, DeBoer called Letang "a world-class defenseman." ... Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said he didn't have a major problem facing the Devils on consecutive days. "Well, I expect to have two real important games," Bylsma said. "They will be intense, like playoff hockey. It's almost like college hockey weekend, playing the same team back-to-back. I expect six straight tough periods, making for some intense hockey. I'm not really concerned with any differences." ... DeBoer liked the idea. "I think it's good, because it's fresh in our minds what worked and what didn't work, what we need to correct. We will try not to make the same mistakes again." . . . The Penguins, who defeated the Devils 5-1 last Sunday, own an 8-4-1 record against New Jersey over the last 13 games and had outscored the Devils 15-5 in the last three games prior to Saturday.
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