Pens double up Devils

Pittsburgh 4, Devils 2
January 30, 2008 7:09:11 AM PST
Erik Christensen had a goal and assist during Pittsburgh's three-goal second period, and the injury- and illness-plagued Penguins rallied from a pair of deficits to beat the New Jersey Devils 4-2 Tuesday night.In the first game for both teams following the All-Star break, the Penguins defeated the Devils for the fifth straight time in New Jersey and they did it without forwards Sidney Crosby (ankle), Colby Armstrong (flu) and Tyler Kennedy (mononucleosis).

Jordan Staal got Pittsburgh even at 1 early in the second and Christensen and Ryan Malone struck less than 2 minutes apart to put the Penguins in front. Ty Conklin made 23 saves to improve to 11-2-2 since joining the team following Marc-Andre Fleury's ankle injury in December.

Malone added a power-play goal 5:21 into the third to make it 4-2 for the Penguins, 2-1-1 since Crosby's injury.

That sent the Devils to their fourth loss in six games, each defeat coming at home. The visiting team has won all five meetings this season with New Jersey taking three in Pittsburgh.

New Jersey wasted the fourth career two-goal effort from forward Mike Rupp, who had no points in 35 games. Martin Brodeur stopped 23 shots.

Just like a 4-3 home loss to Montreal on Thursday, the Devils were done in by a bad period. New Jersey coach Brent Sutter punished his team with a long bike ride after the Devils were outshot 20-3 in the third and squandered a 3-1 lead.

This one couldn't have made him happy, either.

Despite recording only 10 shots in the second, the Penguins went ahead. After Staal tied it 1-1 at 1:12 on Pittsburgh's first shot, Christensen and Malone beat Brodeur 1:32 apart to make it 3-2.

Maxime Talbot and Christensen teamed up for some one-handed magic, tying it at 14:41. Devils defenseman Johnny Oduya tried to send the puck behind the net but hit the side of the cage.

Talbot used one hand to sweep the puck in front to Christensen, who moved it to his backhand and used his long right-handed reach to poke it past Brodeur.

The disappointed crowd, sparse at best in the Prudential Center, still buzzed when the Devils fell behind with 3:47 left. Evgeni Malkin passed the puck behind the net to former Devils forward Petr Sykora, who sent the puck off Brodeur's stick to Malone for a quick shot that made it 3-2.

Rupp had put the Devils ahead 2-1 with his 23rd NHL goal 52 seconds before Christensen's goal.

The fifth-year forward, who scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Devils in Game 7 of the 2003 finals, notched his first of this season during rare power-play time. The 6-foot-5 center planted himself in front and cleaned up a loose puck to make it 1-0 at 8:54. It was his first goal since March 30, 2007.

New Jersey held an 11-8 shots advantage through 20 minutes after being dominated for the first half of the period. Devils forward Patrik Elias hit the post with 3 seconds left.