Penguins Explode in 3rd, Bury Devils 7-1

The Pittsburgh Penguins exploded for 5-goals in the 3rd period to bury the New Jersey Devils 7-1 and take over 1st place in the Atlantic Division.  Evgeni Malkin broke the 100-point mark as he picked up 3-points (2G, 1A) to pull back within 4-points (102) of Alexander Ovechkin (106) for the NHL scoring lead.  Ryan Malone had 2-points (2G), Marian Hossa had 3-points (3A), Pascal Dupuis had 2-points (1G, 1A), Petr Sykora had 3-points (1G, 2A), and Sergei Gonchar had 2-points (2A).  Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24-of-25 shots to notch a win against the Devils.  The Penguins trail the Montreal Canadiens by 1-point for the Eastern Conference lead, but have a game in hand against the Habs. 

In the 1st period, Jarkko Ruutu put the Penguins on the board first at 1:30 as he scored his 5th goal of the season, and 3rd goal in his last 3-games.  Marian Hossa and Darryl Sydor picked up the assists.  At 9:04, the Devils got the equalizer as Brian Gionta beat Marc-Andre Fleury on a short-handed opportunity to make it 1-1.  John Madden picked up the lone assist.  The Devils outshot the Penguins 13-8 in the first.  The Penguins killed off their only penalty and were 0-for-2 on the powerplay, but did give up the short-hander.  

In the 2nd period, Ryan Malone put the Penguins back in the lead as he took a beautiful feed from Pascal Dupuis and beat Martin Brodeur with a short-handed goal of their own.  Brooks Orpik picked up the other assist.  Both teams picked up 7-shots in the period.  The Penguins were 0-for-1 on the power play and successfully killed off 2-penalties as they picked up a short-handed goal.

In the 3rd period, the Penguins put the hurt on the Devils by scoring 5-goals.  The Penguins chased Martin Brodeur from the net after scoring 2-goals on 4-shots in the 3rd before peppering back-up goaltender Kevin Weekes and scoring 3-goals on 9-shots.  The first goal came on the powerplay at 3:00 as Ryan Malone deflected a Sergei Gonchar blast to score his 26th of the season and 2nd of the night.  Marian Hossa got the other assist.  Less than 2-minutes later, Pascal Dupuis got his 12th goal of the season as he sent Martin Brodeur to an early shower.  Marian Hossa got his 3rd assist and Sergei Gonchar got his 2nd assist of the night.  Then at 8:24, Evgeni Malkin scored his 43rd goal of the season and notched his 100th point and beat Kevin Weekes on the man-advantage.  Kris Letang and Petr Sykora assisted on the play.  Then at 11:21, Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora connected as Malkin beat Weekes again to make it 6-1.  But Sykora and Malkin weren’t done with Weekes as Petr Sykora took a Malkin feed at 18:18 to put an exclamation point on the Penguins offensive explosion.  Ryan Whitney was credited with the other assist.  The Penguins outshot the Devils 13-5 in the 3rd and were 2-for-3 on the power play, despite failing to score on a 5-minute boarding major to Travis Zajac after he pummeled Sergei Gonchar head first into the boards. 

The Penguins travel to New York to take on the Islanders on Monday night before reuniting with the Devils for a rematch in New Jersey on Tuesday night. 

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