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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins
Evgeni Malkin did not disappoint Penguins fans in his NHL debut, but the New Jersey Devils certainly did.

Martin Brodeur and the Devils held off Malkin and the Penguins for a 2-1 win Wednesday night at Mellon Arena.

Malkin sparkled in his NHL debut. He scored a goal and nearly had another against the Devils.

His first NHL goal gave the Penguins a 1-1 tie with New Jersey at the second intermission.

With 1:22 left in the second period, Malkin scored his first NHL goal. Skating down the right wing, he flipped the puck to Mark Recchi, who fired it on goal. Martin Brodeur made the initial save and appeared to smother the puck, but Malkin swooped in on the crease and poked the loose biscuit through Brodeur’s legs and into the net. Ryan Whitney earned an assist on the play.

The goal sent the Mellon Arena crowd into a frenzy and Malkin received a standing ovation.

“If was an exciting game. The people gave our team some excitement,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “It was a really good game for the fans. Too bad we didn’t win the game, but it was a good game.”

Malkin nearly scored in the first period on a deflection. However the puck ricocheted off the crossbar and into the corner of the rink.

“We played hard. It was a good game. The type of game that could go both ways,” Therrien said. “Sometimes, you need breaks to win hockey games. Tonight, we didn’t have that. I liked the effort. Those are the types of games, eventually with more experience, that we’re going to be able to win. We’re playing against a team that has a lot of experience and is a good team. It’s a tough team to play against. They played really well defensively.”

Jay Pandolfo gave the Devils a 1-0 lead 3:18 into the second period with a goal. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made two quick saves during a scrum in front of the net, but Pandolfo’s shot just escaped Fleury’s glove as he dove to his left.

Jamie Langenbrunner scored the deciding goal 9:12 into the third period. Pandolfo, who was wide-open at the top of the crease, slipped the puck past Fleury for the 2-1 edge.

Brodeur stopped 37 of the 38 shots he faced.

“Marty Brodeur was really good tonight,” Therrien said.

The Penguins return to action Thursday in New York against the Islanders.

ICE CHIPS: Attendance was a standing room-only 17,030…Karl Stewart and Andre Roy were the Penguins’ scratches…Brad Lukowich and Dan LaCouture, a former Penguin, did not dress for New Jersey.


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