NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Travis Zajac scored two goals and set up another as the New Jersey Devils limited Pittsburgh to a season-low 16 shots in posting a 3-1 victory on Saturday night, ending the Penguins’ four-game winning streak.
Blake Coleman also scored and Stefan Noesen had two assists in helping the Devils win their third straight since returning from the All-Star break. Keith Kinkaid made 15 saves and benefited from a goaltender interference call that denied Sidney Crosby a third-period goal.
Evgeni Malkin, the NHL player of the month in January with 12 goals, scored in the third period. He now has eight goals in his last four games, 15 since Jan. 1, and 29 overall. Rookie goaltender Casey DeSmith made 35 saves for the Penguins, who looked sluggish after beating Washington on Friday night.
Sidney Crosby, who also missed an open net in the second period, had his 11-game point scoring streak stopped. The run is tied for the NHL best this season.
After a scoreless first period, Zajac gave the Devils the lead 30 seconds into the second period after a mistake by DeSmith. The rookie goaltender tried to pass or poke the puck toward the corner and Zajac intercepted it close to the net and stuffed it into the net for his first goal in 10 games.
Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta fanned on clearing attempt near the right circle a little more than two minutes later and Zajac collected the puck. He sent a pass to Noesen, who quickly found Coleman for a shot that got between DeSmith’s arm and body at 3:05.
Malkin got the Penguins on the board early in the third period with a great backhander past Kinkaid that was set up by defenseman Ian Cole.
Zajac got his seventh goal at 9:51, deflecting a point shot by defenseman Damon Severson past DeSmith.
Crosby lost his goal when it was ruled that Bryan Rust skated through the crease and hit Kinkaid in the mask. The blow knocked the goaltender down and allowed Crosby to bank a shot from the corner into the net off the goalie.
NOTES: Penguins F Zachary Ashton-Reese made his NHL debut. … The win ended the Devils’ five-game losing streak against the Penguins, all last season. …. This was Pittsburgh’s first loss in regulation against a Metropolitan Division opponent since Jan. 1 (5-1-1).
Penguins: Host Vegas on Tuesday night.
Devils: At Ottawa on Tuesday night.
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