PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored twice, Carter Rowney got his first NHL goal, and the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-4 at PPG Paints Arena on Friday.
Pittsburgh (44-17-9) moved into second place in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the Washington Capitals and one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Penguins are 6-1-1 in their past eight games despite missing several key players, including forward Evgeni Malkin, who did not play Friday (upper body).
WATCH: All Devils vs. Penguins highlights
"We have some difference-makers," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "It starts with Sid. When you can build around a guy like that, I think that really makes your team better and the people around you better."
In a busy first period, Phil Kessel, Jake Guentzel and Crosby scored for the Penguins to give them a 3-2 lead. Kyle Palmieri and Stefan Noesen scored for the Devils (26-32-12).
Palmieri gave New Jersey a 1-0 lead at 5:35. Skating in alone on Matt Murray, he used a shot fake to freeze the goaltender, went backhand to forehand and wrapped a shot around Murray's left pad.
"I thought we got some goals at some key times," Devils coach John Hynes said. "We had some good looks. … We have a little bit more team speed now. They've been much more tenacious in the offensive zone, and also some of our zone entries and line rush plays have been good. We've gotten more chances and it's good we were able to capitalize."
Video: NJD@PIT: Crosby scores his second with empty-net goal
Kessel answered one shift after skating to the bench in some discomfort. He carried the puck into the Devils zone and sent a wrist shot past Keith Kinkaid to tie it 1-1 at 6:37. Guentzel gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead at 13:30, and Noesen tied it 2-2 at 14:02.
Crosby scored on a 5-on-3 with 15 seconds remaining to put the Penguins ahead 3-2. Nick Bonino extended the lead to 4-2 at 15:47 of the second period.
Beau Bennett cut it to 4-3 at 19:09. It was Bennett's first point in four games against Pittsburgh, which selected him in the first round (No. 20) in the 2010 NHL Draft.
Rowney made it 5-3 at 5:17 of the third period.
Palmieri scored on a power play, his fifth goal in his past three games, to make it 5-4 with 3:31 left, and Crosby scored into an empty net to push it to 6-4 with 34 seconds left.
Crosby tied Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand for the NHL lead with 37 goals.
"I think tonight is one of those games where you just have to find a way to outscore whoever you're playing," Crosby said. "It was nice to see a couple go in, and hopefully those chances start to convert a little bit more."
Goal of the game
After Devils forward Joseph Blandisi was called for holding and defenseman Dalton Prout for cross-checking with 1:48 remaining in the first period, the Penguins took full advantage with Crosby's goal. Mark Streit sent a cross-ice pass to Crosby, who dropped to one knee and one-timed a shot past Kinkaid.
Video: NJD@PIT: Crosby rips one-timer from down low for PPG
Save of the game
Kessel was awarded a penalty shot with 22 seconds remaining in the second period after Ben Lovejoy hooked him on a breakaway. Kessel slowly skated in on Kinkaid and went short side, but Kinkaid used his blocker to keep the score 4-3 entering the third period.
Video: NJD@PIT: Kinkaid shuts down Kessel's penalty shot
Highlight of the game
Tom Kuhnhackl passed through Bonino to Rowney, who slipped a pass to Bonino near the inner edge of the left circle. Kinkaid seemed to expect Bonino to pass, which led him to drift toward the right post before Bonino shot back to the left into an open side of the net.
Video: NJD@PIT: Bonino beats Kinkaid with move to forehand
Unsung performance of the game
Forward Chris Kunitz played a physical game that helped Pittsburgh hold its lead through the final two periods. He led the Penguins with six hits and had three shots on goal in 15:46.
They said it
"I haven't looked yet, but I'm sure there are a few congratulations. I'm sure my brothers were watching back home." -- Penguins forward Carter Rowney on receiving text messages regarding his first NHL goal, scored in his 15th game
"Good things offensively. A couple breakdowns that ended up in the back of our net tonight and that was the difference. That's the way it goes sometimes." -- Devils forward Kyle Palmieri
Need to know
Kinkaid started a second consecutive game after making 17 saves in a 6-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. … Crosby had his 640th NHL assist on Guentzel's goal. That tied Jaromir Jagr for the second most in Penguins history. Mario Lemieux leads with 1,033.
Devils: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday (1 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-O, NHL.TV)
Penguins: Host the Florida Panthers on Sunday (1 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SN, ROOT, FS-F, NHL.TV)
Video: Crosby tallies two goals as Penguins down Devils, 6-4