NEWARK, N.J. (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins were without three of their biggest stars Thursday night and it showed.
Skating without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for the first time since Malkin entered the league in 2006-07, the Penguins were blanked 2-0 by the New Jersey Devils.
In addition to Crosby and Malkin being out of the lineup, Marc-Andre Fleury was given the night off.
Martin Brodeur turned aside 23 shots to record his 114th career shutout, while Brian Rolston and Nick Palmieri provided all the offense the Devils would need.
The game didn’t start out well for the Pens as Rolston lit the lamp just 1:22 into the first period.
New Jersey cleanly broke out of their defensive zone on a long pass to Rolston from Andy Greene. Rolston fed Patrik Elias streaking up the left wing before getting a drop pass from Elias at the top of the left faceoff circle.
Rolston wasted no time blowing a slapshot by Brent Johnson to take the early lead.
Later in the period, Paul Martin turned the puck over behind the net to Palmieri. He then skated to the front of the cage and slid the puck behind a surprised Brent Johnson to make it 2-0.
Pittsburgh was unable to sustain much of any offense in the game, which played well into New Jersey’s trapping defensive scheme.
Prior to Thursday’s game, the Penguins had won three straight games. They had also won the previous two meetings with the Devils this season.
The Devils have now won four of their last five games, but still hold the NHL’s worst record at 14-29-3.
Johnson made 18 saves in the loss.
The Penguins will return to Pittsburgh to host the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 p.m. on Saturday.