NEWARK. N.J. (AP)—The Pittsburgh Penguins finally held on to a two-goal lead, putting an end to a two-game losing streak.
Pittsburgh squandered two goal leads in both loses, a fact they did not dwell on.
“We really didn’t talk about it,” Sabourin said. “We played like it was 0-0 all the time. That’s why we had success.”
Penguins coach Michel Therrien did not mention the two-goal hex until they had built a 4-0 lead after two periods.
“We have to learn from our mistakes,” Therrien said. “I was really impressed with the way we played the third period.”
Crosby and Hall had first period goals to give the Penguins the 2-0 lead. Crosby, the NHL leader in power-play points, improved his total to 12 by snapping a rebound past Martin Brodeur at 12:09.
Hall scored on a backhand deflection of a shot by Brooks Orpik at 16:19 to give Pittsburgh a two-goal advantage.
Sykora and Christensen added second period goals as the Penguins padded the lead to 4-0.
The Sykora goal at 5:48 was a turning point. Pittsburgh had blown two goal leads in the last two games, resulting in a pair of losses. The third goal gave the Penguins needed breathing room. It also deflated the Devils, who had gone 2-0-1 in their last three games.
The score by Sykora was set up by a great pass by Evgeni Malkin who centered a feed to slot despite being knocked to his knees.
Christensen completed a give-and-go with Maxime Talbot at 11:18 for the fourth Penguins goal. Pittsburgh dominated the period, outshooting the New Jersey 10-3.
Crosby connected again at 3:28 of the third, sending Brodeur to the bench with Kevin Weekes coming in to finish up. Brodeur gave up the five goals on 24 shots.
The only remaining suspense was Sabourin’s bid for the shutout. He preserved it with a sensational glove save on Paul Martin midway through the period, the toughest of the 6 shots he faced in the final period.
“I’m pretty happy to get the shutout, but it was a big night for the team,” Sabourin said. “They played well in front of me all night.”
Devils coach Brent Sutter found few positives in his team’s effort which dropped their record to 2-2 at their new home, the Prudential Center.
“I’m not going to sugar coat it,” Sutter said. “Our commitment tonight was unacceptable. This was a big divisional game. To come to the rink like that doesn’t cut it. I am surprised, to be quite honest.”
The game was the second for both teams in a stretch of nine straight against divisional foes. … The Devils returned D Olli Malmivaara to Lowell (AHL). … Devils D Karel Rachunek missed his fourth straight game with a groin injury. The Penguins scratches were D Ryan Whitney (groin), C Colby Armstrong and Jarkko Ruutu. … The Devils have yet to win a game in which they gave up the first goal (0-6-1).