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Penguins-Devils Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Pittsburgh Penguins (16-37-12) at New Jersey Devils (33-24-8).

TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The New Jersey Devils easily won two games over the Pittsburgh Penguins last October to start the season. But they haven't been able to beat them in the last three games.

The Devils look to change their fortunes and end their losing streak against Pittsburgh, which is trying to win a third straight game.

New Jersey beat Pittsburgh 5-1 in its season opener, Oct. 5, and posted a 6-3 victory 15 days later.

But the Penguins - who are the NHL's worst team with 16 wins and 44 points - have reeled off three straight wins over the Devils, including a 6-3 win Saturday.

"I don't think we were ready at the start of the game," Devils defenseman Tommy Albelin said after that defeat. "It was one of those games. It can't happen, it shouldn't happen, but sometimes it does."

Pittsburgh followed up that victory with a 2-0 win Sunday over Philadelphia. Rookie Colby Armstrong accounted for the offense by scoring both goals, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves for his second career shutout as the Penguins won back-to-back games for just the fourth time this season.

"We're all playing within our role and not worrying about results," Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. "When we do that everything seems to click, and that's been a big factor in us winning games."

Pittsburgh has not won three in a row since March 19-23, 2004.

The Devils failed to regroup from Saturday's loss, falling 6-1 Tuesday to the New York Islanders. Goaltender Martin Brodeur has struggled in both defeats, getting pulled after allowing three goals in each of the defeats.

It marked the first time since the 1996-97 season that Brodeur was pulled from back-to-back games.

"Marty will come back right," Devils general manager and interim coach Lou Lamoriello said. "We just haven't been playing the way we had been playing as a team."

Paul Martin scored nearly 11 minutes into the third period to avert what would've been New Jersey's first shutout defeat since a 4-0 loss Jan. 27 to the Florida Panthers.

STANDINGS: Penguins - 44 points, 5th place, 38 PB, Atlantic Division. Devils - 74 points, 3rd place, 8 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Penguins - Crosby, 31 goals, 43 assists and 74 points; Brooks Orpik, 104 PIM. Devils - Brian Gionta, 35 goals and 62 points; Scott Gomez, 35 assists; Ken Klee, 68 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Penguins - Power play: 18.2 percent (74 for 407), 11th in NHL. Penalty killing: 77.8 percent (336 for 432), 30th. Devils - Power play: 16.7 percent (60 for 360), 20th. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (229 for 279), 17th.

GOALTENDERS: Penguins - Fleury (9-21-5, 1 SO, 3.29 GAA); Sebastien Caron (6-6-4, 0, 4.29). Devils - Brodeur (31-20-6, 5, 2.61); Scott Clemmensen (2-4-2, 0, 3.49).

SEASON SERIES: Penguins, 3-2.

LAST MEETING: March 11; Penguins, 6-3. At Pittsburgh, Crosby scored the first of two goals to help the Penguins build a 4-1 first-period lead over the Devils.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Penguins - 7-19-5 on the road; Devils - 20-9-3 at home.

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