Brodeur, Devils Blank Penguins
Devils 3, Penguins 0
The Associated Press
Tuesday, December 26, 2006; 11:47 PM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils had the perfect game plan against Pittsburgh: limit the scoring chances for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and let Martin Brodeur take care of the rest.
Brodeur made 26 saves for his 85th career shutout as New Jersey beat the Penguins 3-0 on Tuesday night behind goals from Travis Zajac, Jay Pandolfo and Brian Gionta.
"We played pretty solid," Brodeur said. "We didn't create tons of offense but we stuck to our game plan. We made sure Malkin and Crosby weren't a big part of that game."
Crosby had only two shots, both in the third period.
Brodeur earned his fifth shutout this season and moved into sole possession of third place on the career list, one ahead of Glenn Hall.
"Brodeur is one of the best ever," Crosby said. "We had only a few chances and couldn't take advantage. In a tight game like that, you have to take advantage of every opportunity. Every time we play these guys, it's tough."
The Devils got a goal from Zajac early in the second period, and Pandolfo and Gionta added insurance goals late in the third.
The win was only the third in eight games for the Atlantic Division-leading Devils, who ended a three-game losing streak on home ice.
It was a frustrating night for Crosby and the Penguins. The NHL's leading scorer had his 10-game point streak snapped as Pittsburgh lost its fourth straight.
"Offensively, we didn't generate anything," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "Our second effort was not there. They don't give you much. You have to fight for your scoring chances."
Zajac staked the Devils to a 1-0 lead at 1:23 of the second on a nice puck-control rush by his line. Zajac, Jamie Langenbrunner and Zach Parise crisscrossed in the Penguins zone with Zajac winding up with the puck in the right circle for a shot that beat Marc-Andre Fleury.
The assist was Langenbrunner's 100th with the Devils.