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Devils top Penguins; Brodeur wins fourth straight

by Dan Rosen

NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur may not be the New Jersey Devils' unquestioned No. 1 goalie anymore, but right now he's their good luck charm.

For some reason that coach Peter DeBoer hasn't been able to explain, scoring becomes a problem for the Devils when Cory Schneider is in net. With Brodeur standing between the pipes, as he was Saturday at Prudential Center, they're even getting offense from their blue line and beating the first-place team in the Metropolitan Division.

Andy Greene scored his second goal of the season and Adam Larsson scored his first regular-season goal in nearly two years to help lift the Devils to a 4-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brodeur did his part, making 27 saves for his sixth win in 11 starts this season and fourth in a row.

Jaromir Jagr scored the insurance goal with 5:54 left in the third period and then added an empty-net goal to give him seven goals and 16 points in 20 games. Both are team highs.

New Jersey has scored 32 goals in Brodeur's 11 starts this season, but only 10 in Schneider's nine starts.

The Devils don't play again until Wednesday, when they start a three-game road trip through California against the Anaheim Ducks.

"We're looking to try to get to .500 and go from there, go forward," Brodeur said of the Devils, who are 7-8-5. "We're not there yet. We had a tough start, but now I think the last five, six games, it's been really good. We've been in every game and scoring a few more goals and getting some wins because of that."

Dainius Zubrus had a particularly strong game for the Devils, factoring into the first three goals. He forced the turnover that led to Greene's goal in the first period, led the rush that led to Larsson's goal in the second period, and forced the turnover that led to Jagr's first goal in the third. He was credited with assists on New Jersey's second and third goals.

"He wasn't the weakest link on our line," Jagr joked.

Chris Kunitz scored a breakaway goal for Pittsburgh early in the second period, but after breaking out with four goals in a win against the Nashville Predators on Friday, the Penguins offense once again couldn't find a way.

The Penguins have scored four even-strength goals in their past five games and have gone 1-4-0. They have only 25 goals over their past 12 games and are 5-7-0 in that stretch after winning seven of their first eight games with the help of 30 goals.

"We had an open net, posts, and the power play probably hurt us [Saturday night] with the opportunities we had in the third to get us back in the game," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "I don't know if it's been a common thing, but we certainly had a fair amount of chances."

Crosby is talking about the back-to-back power-play opportunities Pittsburgh had midway through the third period when it was a 2-1 game. The Penguins had seven shots on goal over the two power plays but couldn't convert.

"They have too many guys with too much firepower there, so obviously we can't get into a track meet with them," Greene told "I thought we did a good job of limiting their chances. They're going to get their chances, but you've gotta limit their second and third chances, and I thought we did a good job of that."

Greene gave the Devils a 1-0 lead with 19 seconds left in the first period, when his seemingly harmless shot from the left point trickled through Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. It was New Jersey's third shot on goal.

Craig Adams was the high man on Greene and the shot appeared to deflect off his stick, changing direction just enough to fool Fleury, who fumbled the puck and had it go through his five-hole.

"It hit something, but I don't know exactly what," Greene said. "I saw the replay quickly. It definitely got deflected. It dipped and I obviously couldn't see it. I was waiting on everybody else, and I was like, 'Holy cow, that went in.'"

The Penguins got a break of their own early in the second, leading to Kunitz's game-tying breakaway goal.

Marek Zidlicky had the puck squirt away from him at the offensive blue line. Kunitz then beat a backpedaling Zidlicky to the puck and broke in for a breakaway.

Brodeur shut the door the rest of the way, though, and the Penguins wound up giving the Devils one too many quality chances in the latter part of the second period.

"We gave them three good opportunities on odd-man situations, and they capitalized," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.

Larsson converted on a 4-on-3 rush to give the Devils a 2-1 lead with 1:38 left in the second period. He hadn't scored since Nov. 26, 2011, against the New York Islanders.

Zubrus led the rush up the middle of the ice and fed Travis Zajac on his right side while Jagr went to the net. Larsson joined in, beating Evgeni Malkin and James Neal down the ice. Zajac quickly moved the puck back across the ice to Larsson, who beat Fleury under the blocker with a shot from the left circle.

Prior to Larsson's goal, Steve Bernier got free on a breakaway only to have the puck roll off his stick as he tried to deke to his backhand, and Fleury robbed Michael Ryder with a diving save after Ryder stole the puck from Matt Niskanen in the Penguins zone.

"It was a good team win, especially with us going on the road here for the next while," Greene said. "I don't want to say it was a must-win, but it was a big win. We pulled this victory out and can go on the road with a good feeling."


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