NEWARK, N.J. (KDKA) – The Penguins were looking to win their second game in as many days, but the New Jersey Devils had other ideas Sunday afternoon.
New Jersey jumped out to an early lead and never looked back en route to a 5-2 win.
Ilya Kovalchuk got the Devils on the board just 2:21 into the first period.
Marc-Andre Fleury went behind the net to play a puck, but couldn’t get a handle on it and it bounced by him. Patrik Elias found Kovalchuk coming late on the play and he fired a low one-timer by Fleury to put New Jersey up 1-0.
About seven minutes later, the Devils’ passing increased the lead.
Alexei Ponikarovsky hit Kovalchuk with a cross-ice pass, which drew Fleury out of the net. Kovalchuk found Anton Volchenkov in the high slot and he fired the puck into a gaping net to put the Devils up 2-0 9:33 into the game.
Photo Gallery: Penguins Fall To Devils, 5-2
The Penguins looked flat for much of the period, but managed to outshoot the Devils 11-10 in the first. However, they could not get a puck behind Martin Brodeur.
In the second period, the Penguins were given an early power play chance, which proved to be a turning point in the game.
Paul Martin was unable to keep a puck in the offensive zone. He turned around and raced for it with Kovalchuk hot on his heels. As they closed in on the puck, Kovalchuk reached out with his free hand and appeared to hold up Martin, but nothing was called.
Kovalchuk gained control of the puck and his shot was stopped by Fleury. However, Dainius Zubrus was there for the rebound and chipped it home to put New Jersey up 3-0.
That would be the end of the day for Fleury, who was replaced by Brent Johnson.
Just 34 seconds later, Matt Niskanen ripped a slap shot by Brodeur to capitalize on the power play and keep the Penguins in the game.
However, about eight minutes later Zach Parise’s stuff attempt from the short side found its way through Johnson and put the Devils up 4-1.
Evgeni Malkin recorded another highlight reel goal on Brodeur roughly midway through the third period.
While on the power play, Malkin took control from the left point, closed in on the net, stepped around a prone defenseman and tucked the puck between Brodeur’s legs to cut the deficit to 4-2.
That would be as close as the Penguins would get as the Devils fought off a late charge and David Clarkson added an empty net goal to cap the scoring in the contest.
The Penguins will now head to Montreal for a game Tuesday night against the Canadiens.