Devils Vs. Penguins: Pittsburgh Looks For 10th Straight Win

Sports Network | December 6, 2010

 

(Sports Network) - The scorching Pittsburgh Penguins will shoot for their first 10-game winning streak in over a decade when they host the New Jersey Devils tonight at CONSOL Energy Center.

The Penguins have won their last nine games and haven't lost since dropping an overtime decision to the New York Rangers on Nov. 15. Pittsburgh is 11-0-1 since its last regulation loss on Nov. 10 against Boston.

The current winning streak is the longest for the Penguins since they won 10 in a row from Jan. 28-Feb. 15, 1999.

The hot streak has also helped Pittsburgh move into a tie with Philadelphia for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Pens and Flyers each have 38 points to tie them with Washington for the most points in the Eastern Conference.

Pittsburgh's most recent triumph came in Saturday's blowout victory in Columbus. Sidney Crosby and Paul Martin both scored two goals, helping the Penguins rout the Blue Jackets, 7-2, at Nationwide Arena.

Crosby now has at least one point in 15 consecutive games during which he has totaled 17 goals and 14 assists. He leads the NHL this season in both goals (23) and points (46).

Michael Rupp, Tyler Kennedy and Deryk Engelland also tallied for the Penguins, while Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves in the win.

The Penguins played Saturday's game without star forward Evgeni Malkin, who sat out with a knee injury. Malkin, who is third on the Penguins with 22 points this season, is questionable for tonight's game.

Pittsburgh has won its last five home games and is 8-5-1 as the host this season. The Penguins will also welcome Toronto on Wednesday before heading out on a two-game trip.

The Devils enter tonight's test against a division rival with a two-game losing streak. New Jersey was handed a 5-1 loss by a visiting Montreal club on Thursday and then was dealt a 5-3 setback Saturday in Philadelphia. It's a bad start to December for the Devils, who had won three out of four to end last month.

Ilya Kovalchuk, Travis Zajac and Patrik Elias scored for the Devils in Saturday's loss in Philadelphia. It was the fifth consecutive road loss for New Jersey, which is 4-10-0 as the visiting team this season.

Johan Hedberg turned aside 29 of 33 shots in defeat. Hedberg, who was pulled after giving up two goals in the first 1:38 of Thursday's game against the Canadiens, could make his sixth consecutive start tonight. The Swedish veteran has been filling in for Martin Brodeur, who is nearing a return from a bruised right elbow. There is an outside chance Brodeur could play tonight, but it's more likely he will return on Friday, when the Devils cap a three-game road trip in Ottawa.

The Devils and Pens met once this year when Pittsburgh notched a 3-1 victory in Newark on Oct. 11. The victory ended a six-game series losing streak for the Penguins, who have just two wins in their last nine tests against New Jersey.

New Jersey has also won three straight and nine of 12 in Pittsburgh, but tonight's game will mark the Devils first trip to CONSOL Energy Center, which the Pens opened earlier this season.

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