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Devils' Brodeur stops Penguins

The SportsXchange

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Marty Brodeur calls it the "Fear Factor."

"We want to play well against everybody, but we have this little fear of the Penguins because we know how damaging they can be, so it brings out the best in us. Especially in this building, we've been playing them well."

It's more like Pittsburgh should fear Brodeur, who made 19 saves in a 2-1 victory on Tuesday at the Prudential Center, making him 48-28-5 for his career against the Penguins.

It was Brodeur's second win of the season against Pittsburgh and made the Devils 13-3-0 vs. the Penguins since the Prudential Center opened in 2008.

"I think it's been the case for a number of years, even before I played at Pittsburgh," Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. "They play a good team defense and with Marty Brodeur and (Cory) Schneider there, they have two pretty good goalies. You have to make sure you put your chances away. We didn't do that, so it makes it a little tough on ourselves."

Center Adam Henrique scored 1:38 into the game and right winger Michael Ryder netted a goal early in the second, fueling the Devils past over the Pittsburgh (29-12-1), which received 28 saves from goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Devils (17-16-8) scored a goal and lost veteran winger Patrik Elias in the first four minutes of action, but managed to take a 2-0 lead in the second period with the help of Brodeur, who was credited with his 44th career assist on the goal by Ryder.

Henrique scored his ninth goal with a well-placed finish of a pass from left winger Ryan Clowe. Henrique made a quick move to get past the final Pittsburgh defender and then scooped a shot over the left shoulder of Fleury. Ryder was credited with an assist on the goal.

A few minutes later, the Devils lost Elias after he was knocked to the ice by Pittsburgh left winger Tanner Glass. Elias was face down on the ice and didn't move until medical personnel reached him. He got up slowly to his knees and then managed to skate off. He did not return.

"It wasn't precautionary," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said of the reason that Elias did not return. "I don't think it was an option. I talked to him between periods and he explained the play and how it was awkward, but I don't know anything yet."

Brodeur cleared the puck to Ryder to start a rush to the other end and, when Ryder lost the puck inside the blue line, Henrique recovered it and sent it back into the middle, where Ryder beat Fleury to score his 12th goal of the season at 2:45.

The Penguins answered at 6:58 of the second to make it 2-1 on a goal by defenseman Matt Niskanen, his fourth. Niskanen's received a pass from Crosby and one-timed a shot from the right circle that beat Brodeur to the glove side. Crosby picked up his 23rd assist on the play. Left winger Chris Kunitz also had an assist for Pittsburgh on the goal, his 22nd.

The opening minutes were hectic for Brodeur as well. Kunitz blasted a slap shot that bounced off the right shoulder of Brodeur. Seconds later, Kunitz missed a chance at an open net with Brodeur down on far side of the goal.

"I was kind of surprised," Brodeur said of the Kunitz slap shot. "I saw it, I just couldn't get my arms to it. I kind of just blocked it. I was happy to get a piece of it. I don't even know what happened (with the empty-net chance). I thought Crosby was going to tap it in and I got turned around. I don't know what happened."

NOTES: Devils G Martin Brodeur picked up his 44th career assist in the second period on a goal by R Michael Ryder. ... C Sidney Crosby had an assist in the second period to give him nine goals and 23 points for the month of December and has now produced a point in 13 of the last 14 games for Pittsburgh. That was his 59th point, which leads the NHL. ... Pittsburgh was limited to just one power-play opportunity in the game and it came in the final minutes of the third period. The Devils were 0-4 on power plays.

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