By Dan Scifo
October 28, 2014
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (3) passes the puck in front of New Jersey Devils' Andy Greene (6) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. It was announced by the Penguins that Maatta has a tumor on his thyroid that will be operated on next week. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A jolt from the league's top-ranked power-play gave the Pittsburgh Penguins all it needed to overcome a slow start against the New Jersey Devils.
Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby fueled a four-goal second-period outburst as the Penguins went on to score seven straight during an 8-3 rout against the Devils on Tuesday.
''Obviously, when you have (Crosby) and (Malkin) on the same team, probably the two best players in the world, they can change a game so quick,'' Patric Hornqvist said.
Trailing 3-1, the Penguins rallied behind Malkin. He extended his point streak to eight games with a power-play goal, his fourth of the year before the Penguins poured it on with the next seven, resulting in a season-high eight goals scored by seven different players.
Crosby scored his sixth and seventh goals, Hornqvist netted his fifth and Pascal Dupuis scored in his third straight game, also on the power play. Steve Downie, Blake Comeau and Craig Adams also had goals for Pittsburgh, which defeated New Jersey for the ninth time in 11 home games.
Pittsburgh's top-ranked power play scored three times, the fifth time in eight games it produced multiple goals.
''We started to get everybody into the game,'' Penguins' coach Mike Johnston said. ''Seven different players scoring, that's contributions throughout the lineup.''
Dainius Zubrus scored his second of the season nine seconds into the game, but the Devils were unable to win for the fifth time in six road games. Jacob Josefson and Tuomo Ruutu also scored for New Jersey.
''We beat ourselves,'' Devils' coach Peter DeBoer said. ''I thought we were in a pretty good place for awhile there and as a group we beat ourselves over the last 35-40 minutes.''
Marc-Andre Fleury defeated the Devils for the fifth straight time, making 16 saves.
Cory Schneider stopped 18 of 23 shots through two periods before Scott Clemmensen relieved him in the third, making 10 saves.
The teams combined for six goals in the second period. New Jersey netted the first two to take a 3-1 lead before Pittsburgh rallied with four in a row.
Josefson scored a short-handed, breakaway goal and Ruutu pounced on a rebound in front, giving the Devils a two-goal lead.
Pittsburgh got the boost it needed from the power play, as the Penguins scored on a two-man advantage when Malkin's slap shot from the left point cut the deficit to a goal.
''The five-on-three is where the trouble really started,'' Schneider said. ''We just couldn't stop the bleeding.''
Hornqvist tied it soon after, ripping a shot past Schneider on the blocker side during a rush down the right-wing boards.
Pittsburgh jumped ahead for good with goals in the final 2:25, started by Adams who took a lead pass from Brandon Sutter out of the penalty box and beat Schneider on a breakaway for the eventual game-winner.
''I tried to slow down a little bit and let my hands catch up to my feet,'' Adams said. ''I tried to pull it and go high glove. I didn't quite get it up there, but it was high enough.''
Crosby gave the Penguins a two-goal lead with 1:12 left in the period, converting a rebound while uncovered along the right post. Dupuis and Downie scored power-play goals in the third and Crosby capped the scoring with his second as Pittsburgh easily pulled away.
''They got it to 3-1, but after that we took over the game,'' Hornqvist said.
The Devils played Tuesday without Mike Cammalleri, who leads the team with five goals. Cammalleri, who signed a five-year, $25 million deal on the first day of free agency, suffered a jaw injury during Friday's shootout loss against Dallas. He played the following night in Ottawa, but did not make the trip to Pittsburgh.
Olli Maatta was in the lineup after the Penguins revealed Monday that the 20-year-old defenseman will undergo surgery next week to remove a tumor from his neck that could be low-grade thyroid cancer. Maatta, cleared to play until the surgery, is expected to return in four weeks. He had an assist in 18:50 of ice time on Tuesday.
Maatta was one of 12 Penguins with points as everybody piled on after Malkin's power-play goal.
''The way we responded when it was 3-1, the goal by (Malkin) on the power play, we started rolling,'' Dupuis said.
NOTES: Pittsburgh killed 18 straight penalties after allowing six power-play goals in its first three games. ... Penguins' D Christian Ehrhoff played in his 700th career game. ... The Penguins continue their second three-game homestand of the season Thursday against Los Angeles. New Jersey returns home against Winnipeg, also on Thursday. The Devils scratched D Adam Larsson, while D Robert Bortuzzo (lower body) missed for the Penguins.