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Penguins lose again in overtime

Ilya Kovalchuk scored on a power play with 24.9 seconds left in overtime and the New Jersey Devils continued their remarkable playoff push with a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night. Tyler Kennedy scored for the Penguins.

Devils 2 – Penguins 1 (OT)
Prudential Center, Newark
The Penguins spent nearly sixty minutes without defenseman Kris Letang thanks to a game misconduct for an unfastened jersey.  Despite missing a possible Norris contender, the Penguins held the red-hot Devils to a single regulation goal to force an extra period in Newark.  Martin Brodeur made 25 of 26 saves for a .962 save percentage in what has been anything but his best season with a 16-19-2 record.  Brent Johnson notched a .933 percentage with 28 of 30 saves.

Just over six minutes into the first, Letang dropped the gloves with Travis Zajac.  However, instead of just five for fighting, Letang was also handed a game misconduct for his jersey not being secured.  Both the special teams and the goal horn went unused during the period with no other penalties and no score.  The Pens lead the Devils 9-8 in shots, but both goaltenders held their ground.

Zajac made himself known again in the second with a backhander that found its way into the twine behind Johnson to put the Devils on the board 1-0.  Tyler Kennedy quickly responded just over two minutes later when he sent a wrist shot behind Brodeur unassisted.  Dainius Zubrus took a turn in the penalty box at 14:03 for high sticking, but the Pens’ power play was unable to convert with the man advantage.

The Pens managed to stay out of the box, but their power play was still unable to convert during another chance in the third while Colin White served a boarding minor just under halfway through the period.  With the score stuck at 1 each, the teams headed into overtime.

Zbynek Michalek took the Pens first – and last – minor penalty of the game halfway through the extra period for hooking.  With just over thirty seconds to go, it seemed like the game would go to a shootout.  Ilya Kovalchuk had other ideas, though.  Kovalchuk sent a wrist shot behind Johnson with twenty five seconds left in the game and only seconds on the power play to win the game for New Jersey.

Goals: PENS- Kennedy (15); NJD- Zajac (10), Kovalchuk (23).
Assists: PENS- None.  NJD – Palmieri (4), Greene (17), Elias (33), Rolston (13)
Special teams: The Pens power play failed to convert on both of their chances while the penalty gave up the lone goal they were sent out against.  Both the Devils penalty kill and power play were perfect stopping both man advantages as well as scoring on their own.

The Pens head up to Boston Saturday night to take on the Bruins at 7 p.m. while New Jersey has a night off before they travel to Long Island Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.

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