The New Jersey Devils are one road win away from making history.
The Devils improved to 9-0-0 away from the Prudential Center as goals by Niclas Bergfors, Andy Greene, Zach Parise and David Clarkson gave them a 4-1 victory over the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.
New Jersey moved within one of tying Buffalo's NHL record for the most road victories at the start of a season. The Sabres won their first 10 games away from home three years ago. The Devils host Washington on Saturday before trying to tie the record when they visit Philadelphia on Monday night.
"It's important because you want to win every game," said Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who made 25 saves but wasn't tested severely in the second half of the game. "It's a great opportunity. There aren't many times when you're able to write history, personally or as a team, so when we have the chance to do it, we'll try to make the best (of it). It's all about how we play, and that's what we've been focused on.
"It's hard to win on the road, and we really pay attention to a lot of little details."
Bergfors also had two assists and Travis Zajac set up three goals as the Devils won their seventh in a row overall. New Jersey hasn't lost anywhere since the Sabres' 4-1 win at the Prudential Center on Oct. 28, and has allowed just 15 goals in its nine road wins.
The Penguins, who came home after 1-3-0 road trip, are going the other way. They've dropped their last four games, scoring only three times in that span. Pittsburgh controlled the first period and part of the second but was worn down by the relentless Devils.
"We can execute better than we did tonight," coach Dan Bylsma said. "As the game wore on, our execution and some of our reads had to be better. At the end of the day, our execution has to be raised if we're going to win hockey games."
Pittsburgh scored for the first time in three games when Ruslan Fedotenko jammed home a loose puck during a scramble 11:32 into the game. Sidney Crosby got the primary assist for his first point in 318 minutes and 49 seconds.
"I think in the first period they outworked us," Devils coach Jacques Lemaire said. "They could have gotten a couple goals more."
But that was the only shot to beat Brodeur, who praised his teammates for making things easy for him.
"They'd get their shot, and one of the guys would get there for the rebound," Brodeur said. "It makes a big difference -- when you're able to see the puck, most of the time you're able to stop it."
Crosby said the Devils capitalized on Pittsburgh's mistakes.
"There were a few shifts where we didn't execute coming out of our zone, and they made us pay," he said.
Bergfors finished off a feed from Parise at 13:50 of the second period to tie it, and Greene put the Devils ahead to stay with a power-play goal exactly five minutes later. The young defenseman teed up a straightaway 50-foot slap shot and had it deflect into the net off Pittsburgh's Ben Lovejoy.
Parise gave New Jersey some breathing room 4:43 into the third period when he took a perfect feed from Zajac and snapped a 12-foot wrister past Marc-Andre Fleury. Clarkson hit the empty net with 1.2 seconds to play.
"We got a goal, and then the goal on the power play -- that settled things down for us," Lemaire said. "After that, we started to play better. In the third period they started to put on more pressure, gamble more, and we got a lot of chances."
New Jersey killed off all three Pittsburgh power plays, and the Penguins fell to 0-for-26 with the man advantage since Evgeni Malkin went down with a shoulder injury on Oct. 29. He took part in the morning skate and could return Saturday against Boston. Malkin is one of six regulars out with injuries.
Crosby hit two posts during a third-period power play.
"Two posts was not easy (to take) right now," he said. "It's a matter of time. That's how hockey works, it's not always fair and it doesn't always seem like it's right. I thought there were some chances to be had and some goals to be had."
Material from team media was used in this report
|Ruslan Fedotenko (4) ASST: Sidney Crosby (8), Chris Bourque (2)|
1 - 0 PIT
|Niclas Bergfors (5) ASST: Zach Parise (12), Travis Zajac (8)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Andy Greene (3) ASST: Travis Zajac (9), Niclas Bergfors (6)|
2 - 1 NJD
|Zach Parise (9) ASST: Travis Zajac (10), Niclas Bergfors (7)|
3 - 1 NJD
|EN - David Clarkson (6) ASST: Bryce Salvador (4)|
4 - 1 NJD
|Power Play %||19.3%||19.3%|
|% on Road||21.6%||16.4%|
|% at Home||17.3%||22.0%|
|Mark Eaton Hi-sticking against Mike Mottau|
|Tim Sestito Hooking against Chris Kunitz|
|Jordan Staal Hooking against Mike Mottau|
|Bill Guerin Interference against Andy Greene|
|Travis Zajac Holding against Sidney Crosby|
|Niclas Bergfors Closing hand on puck|
|Sidney Crosby Holding against Dainius Zubrus|