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game recap

Wedgewood gets last-minute start, helps Devils hold off Penguins

Makes 40 saves after Blackwood scratched following warmups; Pittsburgh loses first without Malkin

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Hughes goes upstairs for goal

PIT@NJD: Hughes opens scoring with sharp-angle goal

Jack Hughes slithers his way around several Penguins defenders and finds enough space up top for a short-side goal to put the Devils ahead 1-0

  • 00:47 •

NEWARK, N.J. -- Scott Wedgewood made 40 saves as a last-minute replacement for the New Jersey Devils in a 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Prudential Center on Thursday.

Wedgewood, named the starter when Mackenzie Blackwood was scratched because of an upper-body injury after participating in warmups, is 2-0-2 in his past four starts.

"You can't prepare for those situations," Wedgewood said. "I think I do a good job kind of doing my normal routine on most days. Today, it was a little different. I didn't get a nap in, and I didn't know I was playing for probably 75 percent of warmup. [Blackwood] takes every shot up until probably about the three-minute mark, and right around four minutes, he just left. I was in the corner and saw the look on his face, and [it] didn't look good.

"I just turned my mind on as quick as I could to just kind of focus in. There were a few saves there where I had to battle, but it was fun to play a part in that win."

Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist for the Devils (10-13-4), who have won two straight after losing four in a row (0-2-2).

"It's one thing to go in a game where you know the main goalie has played three or four and you're going in," Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. "But to be ready and be called upon when you're not the starter, and you have basically 15 minutes to prepare yourself mentally and give your team a good game ... and he gave us a real good game."

Jake Guentzel scored, Kris Letang had two assists, and Tristan Jarry made 32 saves for the Penguins (18-11-1), who have lost two straight following a six-game winning streak. Pittsburgh took a season-high 42 shots on goal.

"We need to be better, obviously," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "We didn't get the result we wanted. It's not good enough. We need to be better as a group. We'll take a look at our team and see what kind of adjustments we make from here, but we certainly need to be better."

The Penguins played without center Evgeni Malkin, who sustained a lower-body injury in the first period of a 2-1 loss at the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.

Hughes gave the Devils a 1-0 lead on a snap shot from along the goal line at the left post at 10:02 of the first period. 

"I just saw a little bit of room up top and tried to bank it off [Jarry's] head and put it in the net," Hughes said. "I don't know if it did hit his head, but it was a good shot, and I'm happy it went in."

Video: PIT@NJD: Subban rockets Bratt one-timer home for PPG

P.K. Subban scored a power-play goal on a slap shot from the point to make it 2-0 at 8:42 of the second period, and Travis Zajac scored his first goal in 17 games on a deflection from the slot to increase the lead to 3-0 at 10:19. 

Guentzel scored on Pittsburgh's 22nd shot of the second period on a tip-in from the slot on the power play to make it 3-1 at 19:47. It was his fifth goal in the past six games.

"We know we have capable guys; everyone has got to step up here, we've got to do it by committee," Guentzel said. "We can't take any nights off, and it's got to be a full 60. We'll make sure we are better on Saturday (in the second of the three-game series) and go from there."

Video: PIT@NJD: Guentzel tips Letang's slap shot in for PPG

Bryan Rust scored on a snap shot from the left face-off circle to pull the Penguins within 3-2 with five seconds left in the third period and Jarry pulled for an extra attacker. 

"I thought our guys did a great job," Ruff said. "We faced some adversity and lost a couple of key players and got a big effort out of a lot of guys that allowed us to win the game. It was something that we needed."

NOTES: Forward Frederick Gaudreau had two shots on goal in 9:05 in his Penguins debut, his first NHL game since March 30, 2019, with the Nashville Predators. He signed a one-year contract with Pittsburgh on Oct. 10. ... Penguins defenseman John Marino had two hits and two blocked shots in 19:33 after missing four games with an upper-body injury. … Ruff had no update on Devils forward Nathan Bastian, who sustained an undisclosed injury 1:36 into the second period. … Hughes has seven goals in 27 games, matching the total he had in 61 games last season.

Video: Wedgewood, Hughes lead Devils past Penguins, 3-2

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