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Schneider, Devils shut out Penguins for Hynes

by Mike G. Morreale / NHL.com

NEWARK, N.J. -- First-year coach John Hynes said he isn't aware of the fuss being made about the New Jersey Devils' start to the season. If they continue to impress the way they have in recent weeks, that could change.

After a 4-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Prudential Center on Saturday, the Devils (10-6-1) are third in the Metropolitan Division.

"If people are talking about you, that's nice, but it's early," Hynes said. "We appreciate that, but it doesn't guarantee any success, so you have to continue on.

"One of our objectives coming into the year was that we wanted to make the fans proud of the team, and we have, but we can't guarantee what will happen in the end. When you play well, the fans appreciate that effort, and that's great."

There was plenty of appreciation to go around Saturday in Hynes' first game against the organization he left to join the Devils.

David Schlemko, Mike Cammalleri and former Penguins forwards Bobby Farnham and Lee Stempniak scored for New Jersey, which has won 10 of the past 13 games after starting 0-3-1.

The last time Schneider had a shutout was March 17, 2015, a 35-save, 2-0 victory against Pittsburgh here.

"Shutouts are nice, but I think [Saturday] was about the 18 skaters in front of me because they did an incredible job and I really wasn't tested a whole lot," Schneider said. "We didn't spend a lot of time in our end, and against that team that's a real testament to how hard my teammates worked. Shutouts are nice, but the win is nicer. I just had to make the saves I needed to make."

Jeff Zatkoff made 33 saves for the Penguins (10-7-0), who have lost three of four.

"[Zatkoff] had to make save after save, and that's not the way we play," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "[Saturday] was a matter of work ethic. We didn't deserve to win. I don't think we've put a full game together for a while."

Hynes spent five seasons as coach of the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins, the American Hockey League affiliate of Pittsburgh. Devils general manager Ray Shero was Pittsburgh's GM from 2006-14 before being fired on May 16, 2014. He was hired by the Devils on May 4, 2015.

"If you look at our puck execution and the way we were able to break out of the zone with possession, that was something we didn't do against Chicago (in a 3-2 road win Thursday)," Hynes said. "We spent a lot of time in our defensive zone and had to defend them. Our objective in this game was knowing that sometimes the best defense against skilled players is to be able to play with the puck.

"Credit our players' execution and puck decisions [on Saturday] more than just defending, because that was a big factor to having a good game."

Stempniak scored on a 2-on-1 with Cammalleri with 5:06 left in the third period to give the Devils a 4-0 lead. Stempniak was with the Penguins in 2013-14, playing 21 regular-season games and 13 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He signed a free-agent contract with the Devils on Oct. 5.

"It was a complete game, and against a team like Pittsburgh you can't have turnovers, and we focused on getting back defensively and we did a good job of that," Stempniak said. "We beat their first forechecker into our end and that helped us get clean breakouts."

Farnham gave the Devils a 3-0 lead at 2:09 of the third period. Farnham, who flipped a backhand from behind the net that rolled off Zatkoff's back, was claimed off waivers from the Penguins on Oct. 26.

"Goals are so hard to come by in this League; I'm just happy to help this team win and be able to contribute," Farnham said.

Cammalleri scored his sixth of the season in the second period on the power play for a 2-0 lead at 6:44. After Schneider made a right-pad save against Crosby off a 2-on-1 with Pascal Dupuis 16 seconds earlier, Cammalleri took a pass from Jordin Tootoo down the slot and backhanded a shot inside the left post. Cammalleri had three points in his fifth multipoint game of the season.

"I think results yield a level of comfort and confidence, and we're working on things we think can help us play more in the offensive zone and create more when we're there," Cammalleri said. "Quite honestly, we would have liked to do better in our last couple of games, and I feel we accomplished some of those things against Pittsburgh."

Schneider said the Devils are working on improving each practice and it is paying off.

"In our game in Chicago, we felt our zone exits were sloppy, and we worked on it, and our exits were great against Pittsburgh because we didn't give them any time in our end," Schneider said. "The adjustments we're making game to game have been good, and guys are buying into what we're being told to change. We're given a game plan every night, and if we execute it we have a good chance."

Schlemko scored in the first period off a rebound in the slot just before the net was dislodged at 15:28. Cammalleri deflected a shot in the slot that was blocked by Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi, but Schlemko was there for the rebound. A quick review of the goal confirmed it.

Cammalleri was asked if he felt New Jersey was capable of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We'll worry about our road trip now," he said. "Let the results chase us. We're all enjoying each other, we're learning to trust each other and building a good team feeling in here. It's been enjoyable so far."

The Devils play the first of a three-game road trip Tuesday at the Calgary Flames. The Penguins play the first of four straight at home Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild.

Prior to the game, there was a moment of silence to honor the victims of the attacks in Paris on Friday.

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