PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — Another night, another shootout and another win for the Penguins.
The Pens picked up their third straight victory, beating the New Jersey Devils, 1-0 in a shootout at the CONSOL Energy Center Friday night.
James Neal was able to put the puck past Martin Brodeur for the win. Neal went wide and cut across the goalmouth to Brodeur’s right before banking the puck off the crossbar and into the net.
Brodeur made 26 saves in the game and stopped Kris Letang and Alex Kovalev in the shootout before Neal’s goal.
Marc-Andre Fleury recorded this third shutout this season and the 19th of his career as he made 21 saves. He stopped Brian Rolston, Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias during the shootout.
The Penguins, on the verge of clinching a playoff spot, moved within two points of idle Philadelphia in the race for both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference leads.
The game was lacking offense from the opening faceoff.
Rolston took the first shot 10:06 in, and the teams combined for four shots in the first period. That established a Penguins record for the fewest combined shots in a single period.
In the five games thus far in the season series between the teams, a total of 12 goals have been scored.
The Penguins’ Mike Comrie (hip surgery) played for the first time since Nov. 24.
Brodeur came in with an 8-1-0 record with a 0.88 goals-against average in his previous nine starts against Pittsburgh. He improved that goals-against average while hurting his record.
Brodeur has nine shutouts in his career against the Penguins – tied for second-most against any team. He made 23 saves in a 2-0 home win against them Jan. 20.
But this shutout wasn’t enough for a desperate Devils team to earn two points. New Jersey is 1-3-1 in its past five after completing a miraculous 23-3-2 run from Jan. 9-March 15.
The Devils entered the day nine points behind eighth-place Buffalo in the Eastern Conference.
The Penguins improved to 8-2-2 in its past 12 and have won five of seven. They have won eight of 11 shootouts this season, including winning each of the past three games.
Pittsburgh won 5-4 at Detroit on Monday night – with Neal also scoring the shootout winner – and 2-1 in Philadelphia on Thursday night.