PITTSBURGH - In a wild game that featured a little bit of everything, the strangest sight might've been how New Jersey turned into the run-and-gun Devils.
"It's not the way we draw things up," said defensive-minded forward John Madden, who had a goal and an assist in the Devils' 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. "But nonetheless, we're getting wins."
Arron Asham scored the winning goal with 9:22 left and Zach Parise had three assists for the Devils, the team long known as possessing one of the NHL's stingiest defences.
In its past two games, New Jersey has won 6-5 and 5-4.
"(High-scoring games) don't happen too often with us," reigning Vezina Trophy winner Martin Brodeur said. "That's two in a row we have gone through. It's just the way it is right now. We're getting two points, so we'll take it."
Asham scored on a tap-in from just to the left of the net off a pass from Zach Parise. Travis Zajac had two goals, and Jay Pandolfo and David Clarkson each had two points for New Jersey, which netted only seven goals in its first four games. The Devils had the best goals-against average in the Eastern Conference last season.
"It's definitely different, a different look, very entertaining for the fans," forward Brian Gionta said. "But I'd like to be keeping the puck out of the net a little more and keep scoring the goals we do."
Sergei Gonchar had a goal and two assists, and Evgeni Malkin and Gary Roberts added a goal and assist each for the Penguins in a game that featured 10 second-period power plays (12 overall). The Penguins nearly scored another goal, but it was wiped out by a disputed too many men on the ice penalty.
That was the first several delays when fans threw items onto the ice. The next came when Pittsburgh argued that Zajac's second goal shouldn't have counted because Gionta fell on top of Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the crease.
"(Gionta) pushed me right into the back of the net, and the guy shot and scored," Fleury said. "I thought that was illegal."
New Jersey's third line of Pandolfo, Clarkson and Madden combined to give the Devils a 2-0 lead with two goals in a 3:12 stretch midway through the first.
Talbot cut the Penguins' deficit to 2-1 with a pretty deflection goal from in front off a pass from Whitney with 4:02 left in the first. Roberts tied it 1:50 later when he deflected in Gonchar's shot during a power play.
The teams traded man-advantage goals within the first seven minutes of the second - by Gonchar and Zajac - before the controversy began.
The Penguins appeared to take a 4-3 lead with 7:36 left in the second when Jordan Staal fed Malkin during a 2-on-0 - but Pittsburgh was called for too many men. No whistle blew and neither referee appeared to raise his arm before the goal.
"I think we had seven, they might have had seven," said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who had two assists. "They had too many guys on the ice, period, I don't know how that works."
That led to several in the sellout crowd of 16,990 to litter the ice and boo throughout the ensuing power play. Just 2???? minutes later, the crowd and the Penguins were angered again when the Devils took the lead during another advantage.
With a loose puck in front of the net and a scrum forming in front of Fleury, Gionta began to fall into Fleury - aided by two Penguins who pushed him. Zajac directed the puck into the net to make it 4-3. No penalty was called and the goal stood.
"I can understand the reason he was mad," Brodeur said. "When it happens to you, it's not fun. But it got a goal for us, so we won't complain too much."
The Penguins were later given a long five-on-three advantage, and Malkin tied it at four with 1:18 left in the second.
After taking the lead, the Devils clamped down as Pittsburgh mustered five third-period shots.
"We talked about it and we just wanted to settle down and get back to doing the things we needed to do," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "Keep our composure and stay poised and stay with what we do best."
Notes: The Devils played the sixth of nine road games to start their season. ... Malkin has at least a point in all five games. Last season, he began his career with a goal in each of his first six. ... Pandolfo played in his 189th consecutive game, passing Aaron Broten for the third longest streak in Devils franchise history. ... The Penguins' three power-play goals matched their total in eight games against New Jersey last season.