No Place like Home Penguins 5, Devils 2

By Molinari, Dave | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), March 26, 2012 | Go to article overview

No Place like Home Penguins 5, Devils 2


Molinari, Dave, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


The game was just a few minutes old when Sidney Crosby showed that indeed, he can be as human as anyone else on the ice.

And later he reminded everyone that it's rarely more than a temporary condition.

Crosby made the kind of precision pass that has earned him acclaim as one of hockey's premier playmakers on the second goal in the Penguins' 5-2 victory against New Jersey Sunday night at Consol Energy Center.

Trouble is, the guy he set up was Devils winger Zach Parise.

Crosby more than compensated for his gaffe before the evening was over, though, assisting on Pascal Dupuis' winning goal and scoring an insurance goal on a spectacular individual effort as the Penguins won for the 14th time in their past 16 games.

The victory was their 10th in a row at home, matching the second- longest such streak in franchise history and lifted them back to within one point of the first-place New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference.

The Penguins (47-22-6) still have control of their destiny, because both teams have seven games remaining, one of which will be played April 5 at Consol Energy Center.

What's more, the Penguins have accumulated 100 or more points for the third consecutive season, a feat unprecedented in franchise history.

The Penguins played most of the game without defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who had 1 minute, 43 seconds of ice time before leaving with an unspecified injury. Coach Dan Bylsma said Lovejoy will be evaluated today.

Kris Letang left the game briefly in the second period after he appeared to smack heads with Devils forward Dainius Zubrus while checking him, forcing the Penguins to go with just four defensemen for several minutes.

Center Evgeni Malkin, who leads the NHL with 97 points, took a Zbynek Michalek shot off the right hand in the first period. He went directly to the bench in obvious discomfort, but finished the game.

Probably glad he hung around, too, since he scored the empty-net goal at 18:28 of the third that sealed the victory.

Bylsma said that, as of the end of the game, he has no reason to believe that Letang or Malkin has an injury that would have a lasting impact.

Crosby, playing his seventh game since returning from a neck injury, made it through unscathed, at least physically. …

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