The Pittsburgh Penguins earned their first win in New Jersey since December 2008, defeating the New Jersey Devils 3-1 on Monday afternoon at the Prudential Center.
Brett Johnson made his first start of the season and gave the Penguins a strong performance, making 30 saves in the win.
Johnson made a number of big timely saves, especially in the third period when the Devils made a late push to get back into the game. New Jersey outshot Pittsburgh 15-8 in the third but Johnson and the Penguins closed the door to secure the lead and Paul Martin sealed the win with an empty net goal with 11 seconds remaining in the game to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead.
Martin had a two point game in his return to New Jersey and has recorded points in all three games this season. The veteran defenseman spent six seasons with the Devils, appearing in 400 games.
After signing a 5 year deal worth $25 million with Pittsburgh on July 1, Martin was booed this afternoon on his very first shift from his former home crowd.
Looking to earn their first win of the season and take advantage of a Devils shorthanded squad, the Penguins started out of the gates strong, out shooting New Jersey 15-8 in the first period and Alex Goligoski got Pittsburgh on the board first, beating Martin Broduer with a slap shot from the top of the left circles to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead at the 18:56 mark of the 1st period.
Rookie forward Eric Tangradi created an Ilya Kovalchuk turnover in the neutral zone and Goligoski came in on the rush with an open lane. Tangradi recorded an assist on the goal, his 1st career point.
The Penguins carried over their strong play into the 2nd and just 2:32 into the period, Mark Letestu (2) scored a power play goal, putting the Penguins up by two goals.
Paul Martin made a great play at the right point, moving the puck over to Kris Letang at the left point who one timered a shot to the net that deflected off Letestu’s skate and past Brodeur for the goal.
Pittsburgh was 1-for-6 on the power play in the game and their second power play unit has contributed for two goals in the past two games.
Letestu who was elevated to the second line with Evgeni Malkin, was used in a number of situations and had a team-high 6 shots on goal.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were each held pointless for the second time in three games.
The Penguins host the 2-0 Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night at the Consol Energy Center.
Notes: *Defenseman Zbynek Michalek suffered a right shoulder/arm injury in the second period of the game. He did not return.
*Defenseman Brooks Orpik was a surprise scratch due to a groin injury. Michalek and Orpik will both be re-evaluated by team doctors in Pittsburgh.
*Winger Eric Godard was a healthy scratch for the third straight game.
*The New Jersey Devils played with only 15 skaters due to injuries and the inability to callup players due to their cap situation.