November 16, 2019 / 3:09 AM / a month ago

Devils hold on for home win over Penguins

EditorsNote: Adds city in lead; corrects to Devils 4 wins in 7 games in graf 2; other minor edits

MacKenzie Blackwood made a season-high 38 saves and the host New Jersey Devils held on for a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night in Newark, N.J.

The Devils won for the fourth time in seven games on a night in which Pittsburgh had most of the scoring opportunities. New Jersey avoided losing for the fifth time when holding a lead through two periods and held on two nights after allowing three goals in the final 6 1/2 minutes against Ottawa.

Travis Zajac and Blake Coleman scored in the opening two periods for the Devils, who are 4-0-4 in one-goal games this season.

Defenseman Jack Johnson scored in the third period for Pittsburgh, which has trailed by at least two goals in five straight games. The Penguins were unable to get a point in a fourth straight game in losing their first game since announcing Sidney Crosby would be out at least six weeks with a core muscle injury.

Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray made 19 saves.

Blackwood survived numerous flurries by the Penguins, especially after the opening period. He made several key saves during the first half of the second when the Penguins had 14 of the period’s first 17 shots.

Blackwood then survived a wild sequence in the final minute after the Penguins pulled Murray for the extra attacker. With 43 seconds left he made a point-blank save on Jake Guentzel and then with 15 seconds left, Blackwood smothered a backhander by Evgeni Malkin.

The game started ominously for the Devils as Zajac took a penalty 34 seconds into the game, but he atoned by scoring his second goal of the season with 13:01 left in the period.

After Zajac chipped the puck near the right corner, Coleman forced a turnover on defenseman Brian Dumoulin and the puck deflected to Jesper Bratt. From behind the net, Bratt made a quick pass to Zajac, who lifted the puck from the left crease over Murray.

Coleman forced another turnover to create New Jersey’s second goal with 4.1 seconds left in the second.

Coleman pried the puck loose from defenseman John Marino near the left point in Pittsburgh’s offensive zone and flew through the neutral zone with Marino in pursuit. He threw a soft shot at the net from the right circle, got by Marino and batted the rebound into the net after it caromed off Murray’s catching glove.

Johnson made it a one-goal game by scoring for the first time in 92 games when his wrist shot from the left faceoff circle sailed over Blackwood’s glove.

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