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game recap

Blackwood makes 38 saves in Devils win against Penguins

Zajac, Coleman score for New Jersey; Pittsburgh is winless in two games without Crosby

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Coleman's strong effort

PIT@NJD: Coleman strikes late in 2nd period

Blake Coleman follows up his initial shot that Matt Murray misplays and scores to give the Devils a 2-0 lead in the final seconds of the 2nd

  • 00:36 •

NEWARK, N.J. -- Mackenzie Blackwood made 38 saves to help the New Jersey Devils to a 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Prudential Center on Friday.

Blackwood, making his third straight start, won in his first career game against the Penguins.

"[Blackwood] was big, particularly down the stretch," Devils coach John Hynes said. "We don't win the game if Blackwood doesn't have the performance that he has. It's nice to see him being consistent in his game and making saves when we need them, and he was a big difference in the game."


[WATCH: All Penguins vs. Devils highlights]


Travis Zajac and Blake Coleman scored for the Devils (6-8-4), who are 4-4-2 in their past 10 games.

"The Penguins pushed hard; we didn't want to spend quite that much time in our [defensive] zone but all four lines and three sets of D played well and obviously [Blackwood] was an absolute stud," Coleman said. "Everybody bought in to the little battles, the blocked shots, and it was evident."

Jack Johnson scored, and Matt Murray made 19 saves for the Penguins (10-7-2), who are 4-2-2 in the past eight games and 0-1-1 in two games without center Sidney Crosby. Pittsburgh's leading scorer is out at least six weeks after having surgery Thursday to repair a core muscle injury.

"It's tough," Penguins forward Jake Guentzel said. "We played really well and did not get the bounces. On most nights if we play like that I think we'll come out on top. It's a good thing we got another one (Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs) to get back at it."

Video: PIT@NJD: Zajac scores off feed from Bratt

Blackwood was particularly strong after the Penguins pulled Murray for an extra attacker with 1:07 remaining and the Devils holding a 2-1 lead. He made two saves on Guentzel in a span of six seconds, and another on Evgeni Malkin with 16 seconds left. 

The Devils blocked 20 shots, three by Jesper Bratt.

"Everyone was battling out there, guys were getting into shot lanes, blocking shots and getting their sticks in lanes," Blackwood said. "There was kind of a little bit of mayhem in the end, but we were able to hold that one down and get the two points."

Coleman scored his first goal in 11 games after collecting his own rebound low in the left face-off circle and beating Murray on a backhand at 19:55 of the second period for a 2-0 lead. 

"I kind of surprised myself," Coleman said. "It's been an emphasis to get to the net a little more and get more chances. I know I'm capable of getting more offense. Sometimes you get an ugly one to get you back."

Johnson scored his first goal in 92 games, a wrist shot from the left face-off circle 8:00 into the third period to pull the Penguins within 2-1.

"I thought we played a strong game, start to finish," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "Both (New Jersey) goals were fluky goals. We generated a fair amount of quality scoring chances and defended hard. I thought our guys played smart, but we just didn't find the back of the net enough."

Zajac scored his first goal in 16 games off a wrist shot from the slot to give the Devils a 1-0 lead 6:59 into the first period.


They said it

"I was average at best and I've got to be better if we're going to win that game. It's not going in for us right now, but we got a ton of skill in here and it's going to start going in for us. I think we were the better team out there and deserved better." -- Penguins goalie Matt Murray

"When the Penguins made it 2-1, I thought we just stuck with it and there was less panic. We settled ourselves down right away. You could see the excitement and commitment on the smaller plays in the third. Obviously there were a few big saves but I thought guys wanted to be out there and wanted to make a difference." -- Devils forward Blake Coleman


Need to know

Penguins forward Alex Galchenyuk had an assist for his 300th NHL point in his 500th NHL game. He is the first member of the 2012 NHL Draft class to play 500 games. ... The Penguins were also missing defenseman Kris Letang and forward Patric Hornqvist, both out with a lower-body injury. Letang has missed four straight games and Hornqvist five. ... Penguins forward Nick Bjugstad sustained a lower-body injury in the second period and will be re-evaluated Saturday, Sullivan said. ... Forward Taylor Hall, who had four shots on goal in 17:19, will play his 200th game with the Devils on Saturday. ... Blackwood could make his fourth straight start, according to Hynes.


What's next

Penguins: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN360, SNO, SNW, SNP, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)

Devils: At the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CITY, SNE, TVAS, MSG+, NHL.TV)

Video: Blackwood, Devils edge Penguins

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