(Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Penguins look to maintain their hold on
first place in the Atlantic Division on Saturday afternoon as they begin a
home-and-home series with the hosting New Jersey Devils.
The Penguins come into this meeting having won five straight and with 16
points on the season. That is one better than the streaking New Jersey Devils,
who have won each of their last three outings to keep pace with the Pens.
Pittsburgh, which will host New Jersey on Sunday night, extended its winning
streak in dominating fashion on Thursday, getting all of its goals in the
second period of a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin led the charge with a goal and two assists
each. Crosby has two goals and 12 points over a six-game point streak, while
Malkin has logged nine points during the Penguins' winning streak.
James Neal posted a goal and an assist while Pascal Dupuis and Matt Cooke each
lit the lamp as Pittsburgh went 3-for-4 on the man advantage despite
defenseman and power-play quarterback Kris Letang missing the game with a
lower-body injury that has him day-to-day.
"We did a lot of good things and sometimes you get the results you want," said
Crosby. "We're just playing with a lot of confidence right now and believing
that we can do just about anything."
Marc-Andre Fleury posted 23 saves in the win, which improved Pittsburgh to
6-1-0 on the road.
The Penguins' winning streak does include a 5-1 home win over the Devils on
Feb. 2. Crosby and Chris Kunitz had a goal and two assists each, while Fleury
needed to make just 15 saves.
The win was Pittsburgh's third straight and sixth in its past nine versus the
Devils, but it has lost eight of its past 10 trips to New Jersey.
The Devils began their current winning streak after that loss to the Penguins,
which still stands as their lone regulation loss of the campaign (6-1-3), and
are coming off Thursday's 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
New Jersey put the game away late in the third with goals 14 seconds apart on
consecutive 5-on-3 power plays. Patrik Elias had one of those tallies and
added two assists for his second straight three-point game.
Andy Greene also scored on the man advantage, while Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal
and an assist for his first points in six games. Martin Brodeur ended with 17
"Our goalies are making the saves at the right time, we're blocking shots at
the right time and everyone is playing a part," said Elias, whose team
improved to 4-0-1 at home this season.
Greene had the lone goal last weekend versus the Pens, while Brodeur yielded
all five goals on 30 shots.
New Jersey played without winger Dainius Zubrus on Thursday due to a lower-
body injury and there is no timetable for his return.
The Sports Network