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Pandolfo's game-winner lifts struggling Devils past Penguins 5-2

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Pandolfo's game-winner lifts struggling Devils past Penguins 5-2

The Canadian Press
By:

Jamie Langenbrunner, Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac and Brian Gionta also scored as goal-starved New Jersey avoided its longest winless streak since a seven-game skid (0-4-2-1) in 2001. They also enjoyed their return to the Meadowlands, where they are 9-1-1 this season.

The Devils scored just five goals in losing the final four games of their just completed five-game road trip. They got four goals on nine shots against Fleury in just over 30 minutes, and then added one more against Jocelyn Thibault.

While Martin Brodeur made 23 saves in handing Pittsburgh its fourth loss in five games, he gave up soft goals to Erik Christensen and Evgeni Malkin in the early minutes of the first and second periods, respectively.

Elias, who has struggled since signing a US$42 million contract in the off-season, matched his season best with three points. He has five in the last two games.

The turning point came at 7:31 of the second period when Pandolfo scored his third goal of the season to snap a 2-2 tie.

Fleury, who seemingly flubbed Langenbrunner's point shot on the Devils' first goal, got square to Pandolfo as he one-timed a pass from Sergei Brylin from the right circle. The puck somehow sneaked past Fleury and slowly crossed the goal line.

Zajac stretched the lead to 4-2 a little more than three minutes later, tapping the rebound of an Elias shot past Fleury to end his night.

Gionta put the game out of reach 6:22 into the third period by ripping a nice cross-ice pass from Elias into a virtually open net for a power-play goal.

Christensen gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead 74 seconds after the opening faceoff with a shot from the top of the left circle that Brodeur flat-out missed.

Langenbrunner tied the game a little more than two minutes later. Elias got his sixth goal at 11:59 with a pass that deflected off a Penguins' defenceman past Fleury.

Malkin tied the game 42 seconds into the second period with a nice rush down the right wing. However, Brodeur misplayed his centring pass into his own net.

Notes: New Jersey was 3-for-24 on the power play on its five-game road trip. It was 2-for-4 Friday night. ... The Penguins were 0-for-4 with the man advantage. New Jersey leads the season series 2-1. ... The start was the 17th straight for Brodeur and 23rd in 24 games. It was only the second time in 20 games that Fleury was knocked out.

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Pandolfo's game-winner lifts struggling Devils past Penguins 5-2