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Devils stun Penguins 4-3 in OT

by Brian Hunter
Jamie Langenbrunner is officially white-hot. In the waning moments of Friday night's game, he burned the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Langenbrunner forced overtime by scoring with 31 seconds left in regulation, then notched his third consecutive two-goal game with the winner four minutes into overtime off a great pass by Travis Zajac as the New Jersey Devils extended their winning streak to eight in a row with a 4-3 victory at Prudential Center.

Brendan Shanahan had a goal and an assist and Bobby Holik also scored as the Devils battled back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits. But it was Langenbrunner's sudden scoring touch that made the difference -- New Jersey's captain had only eight goals in his first 46 games before erupting for six in his last three, including back-to-back OT winners against Boston and Pittsburgh.

''I deserved a little luck after the first half of the year,'' Langenbrunner said. ''That's the way the game goes. Some times they go in for you and sometimes they don't.''

New Jersey opened up a five-point lead over the idle New York Rangers in the Atlantic Division. The eight-game win streak is the team's longest since a nine-game run from Nov. 17-Dec. 7, 2007.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, with Malkin's goal the 100th of his career. Maxime Talbot opened the scoring and Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 39 saves, stonewalling the Devils for most of the night, but things came apart late and Pittsburgh remained tied for ninth in the Eastern Conference.

"Everything was all right there for a while," Crosby said. "Even after they got the one to make it 3-2 I don't think we lost too much momentum. They just got a quick play there at the end and made it count."

The Devils pulled goaltender Scott Clemmensen for an extra attacker and Langenbrunner tied the score when his backhander from in close deflected off the skate of Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney and slid past Fleury.

Overtime wasn't guaranteed until Clemmensen returned to the net and made the last of his 13 saves by denying Pascal Dupuis on a 2-on-1 break with Malkin as the final seconds of regulation ticked off the clock.

The Devils then came out and dominated OT, controlling the puck and taking all four shots in the extra period. Langenbrunner, stationed in the left circle, buried the final one after Zajac skated out from the right boards past a defenseman and threaded a cross-ice pass to him for a one-timer past an out-of-position Fleury.

"Trav, he's just been playing unbelievable and really held Fleury on the spot, and I had a lot of net to shoot at there," Langenbrunner said.

Despite getting outshot 43-16, including 17-3 after the second period, the Penguins opened up a 3-1 lead when Malkin got free in the offensive zone and fired a shot that trickled through Clemmensen at 8:35 of the third.

But Petr Sykora was assessed a double minor for hooking and unsportsmanlike conduct with 8:05 left, and Shanahan needed just four seconds to blast a puck by Fleury off a faceoff win by Dainius Zubrus. It was Shanahan's third goal and fourth point in five games since joining the Devils.

"I really thought we were playing well and deserved a better fate going into the third period," Shanahan said. "We talked about just doing a lot of the same things and not trying to change our game. It didn't look good when Malkin scored his goal, but give the guys credit. We stuck with it."

The opening faceoff was delayed by a few minutes as the Devils honored play-by-play announcer Mike "Doc" Emrick with a pregame ceremony. Once the puck was dropped, the Penguins got off to a fast start with a pair of goals 20 seconds apart.

Talbot got his stick on Whitney's drive from the point and deflected it past Clemmensen at 9:33. Before that goal could even be announced, Crosby broke in off a pass from Malkin and scored on a backhander.


Holik quickly answered for the Devils, scoring on a backhander of his own at 11:21 after Shanahan set him up from behind the net. Fleury made 18 saves in the first period, picking up where he left off after a 37-save shutout in New Jersey when the teams last met on Dec. 26.

''It's so tough,'' Malkin said after the Penguins lost a point on a night they seemingly had two. ''New Jersey is a good team with great forwards and great defensemen. It's tough. It's not good to us.''

It was the second night in a row in which the Devils had to rally for a goal late in regulation before winning in the extra period.

"We're playing good hockey," said Patrik Elias, who scored the tying goal Thursday against the East-leading Bruins. "Even that we were down, no one panicked. We kept pushing each other. We outshot them by a big mark. We're believing in each other that we'll turn it around."
Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report

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