Pandolfo's game-winner lifts struggling Devils past Penguins 5-2

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Checking forward Jay Pandolfo capitalized on a bad night by Fleury to score the tie-breaking goal and the New Jersey Devils ended a four-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Penguins on Friday night.

"I don't know if we just have a little more confidence at home," Pandolfo said after New Jersey improved to 9-1-1 at the Meadowlands. "We have to find a way to start playing better on the road."

Jamie Langenbrunner, Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac and Brian Gionta also scored as goal-starved New Jersey avoided its longest winless streak since a seven-game skid (0-4-2-1) in 2001.

The Devils scored just five goals in losing the final four games of their just completed five-game road trip. They got four goals on nine shots against Fleury in just over 30 minutes, and then added one more against Jocelyn Thibault.

Goaltender Martin Brodeur, who finished with 23 saves, said it's easier for the Devils to play their style at home.

"When you are a matching team, we are able to have our lines on the ice at the right time," Brodeur said. "There are no half-shifts, like we do on the road because we have to change when they put their top line out there. We have to find a way to do it on the road. We've done it in the past."

Brodeur was far from perfect in handing Pittsburgh its fourth loss in five games. He gave up soft goals to Erik Christensen and Evgeni Malkin in the early minutes of the first and second periods, respectively.

The turning point came at 7:31 of the second period when Pandolfo scored his third goal of the season to snap a 2-2 tie.

Fleury, who seemingly flubbed Langenbrunner's point shot on the Devils' first goal, got square to Pandolfo as he one-timed a pass from Sergei Brylin from the right circle. The puck somehow sneaked past Fleury and slowly crossed the goal line.

"I shot as fast as I could and it snuck through the five-hole," Pandolfo said. "It was a fortunate bounce. That's what you need when you're not scoring goals as a team. Hopefully we can feed off that."

Zajac stretched the lead to 4-2 a little more than three minutes later, tapping the rebound of an Elias shot past Fleury to end his night.

"It's always hard to lose knowing I didn't play as well as I can," Fleury said. "I have to put it behind me."

Elias, who has struggled since signing a US$42 million contract in the off-season, matched his season best with three points. He has five in the last two games.

Gionta put the game out of reach 6:22 into the third period by ripping a nice cross-ice pass from Elias into a virtually open net for a power-play goal.

Christensen gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead 74 seconds after the opening faceoff with a shot from the top of the left circle that Brodeur flat-out missed.

Langenbrunner tied the game a little more than two minutes later. Elias got his sixth goal at 11:59 with a pass that deflected off a Penguins' defenceman past Fleury.

Malkin tied the game 42 seconds into the second period with a nice rush down the right wing. However, Brodeur misplayed his centring pass into his own net.

Notes: New Jersey was 3-for-24 on the power play on its five-game road trip. It was 2-for-4 Friday night. ... The Penguins were 0-for-4 with the man advantage. New Jersey leads the season series 2-1. ... The start was the 17th straight for Brodeur and 23rd in 24 games. It was only the second time in 20 games that Fleury was knocked out.


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