Schneider helps Devils blank Penguins 4-0
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) New Jersey is off to a strong start, and Cory Schneider thinks more success is coming for the Devils.
Schneider made 21 stops for his first shutout of the season and Mike Cammalleri had a goal and two assists, leading New Jersey to a dominant 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
''We're starting to expect to play this way every game,'' Schneider said. ''This was an important game for everyone. It's great when everyone gets involved. It's a lot of fun.''
David Schlemko, Bobby Farnham and Lee Stempniak also scored for surprising New Jersey, which has won four of five. Adam Henrique added two assists.
The Devils (10-6-1) didn't earn their 10th win last season until Dec. 4, when they beat Toronto to improve to 10-12-4. It's definitely a different team under the tutelage of first-year coach John Hynes.
''The players have a good understanding of what we want to happen,'' Hynes said. ''We had a real good strong team effort tonight. Cory gave us a strong performance. We had 60 minutes of strong hockey tonight.''
The players seems to be buying into Hynes' system and ideology so far.
''We talk about our competitive level all the time,'' Cammalleri said. ''I think the results we've had yield a level of confidence. When we're hustling like this, we're able to accomplish a lot.''
Pittsburgh (10-7-0) lost for the second straight night after winning seven of their previous eight games. The Penguins held a team meeting after the game.
''We needed it to address why we played a game like that,'' center Sidney Crosby said. ''That's really what you're trying to get out of it. That's pretty much the bottom line.''
Schneider was only tested only a handful of times in his 17th career shutout. He had a nice save with his blocking pad on Crosby, who has only two goals in 17 games.
''I have to be patient with these guys,'' Schneider said. ''Making a save like that is a little more rewarding. I only had to make a handful of difficult ones, but that was one of them.''
Schlemko scored at 15:28 of the first off a scramble in front, a play that was reviewed in Toronto. The Devils opened a 2-0 lead in the second when Cammalleri scored on a power play, making a smart pass to himself with his skate to his stick.
Farnham came out of the penalty box and was able to score right away in the opening stages of the third. It was Farnham's second goal of the season; he was claimed off waivers by the Devils from Pittsburgh on Oct. 26.
''It's always in your head when you're coming out of the box that you want to make a play,'' Farnham said. ''You have to think defense first, but when you sense the play can give you the chance to take a risk, you do it. I stayed with the puck and it was nice to score, because goals are hard to come by in this league.''
Jeff Zatkoff made 33 saves for Pittsburgh in his third start of the season.
''The position we put (Zatkoff) in was awful,'' Crosby said. ''He had to make save after save. That's not the way we play. Tonight was a matter of work ethic. We didn't deserve to win.''
Stempniak closed the scoring with his fourth goal late in the third period. He also had an assist and is tied for the team lead with Cammalleri with 10.
NOTES: Patrik Elias, the Devils' career leading scorer who has been sidelined by a knee injury, participated in the morning skate for the first time, but would not speculate about a possible return. Elias was greeted by the team tapping their sticks on the ice as a sign of respect. The 39-year-old Elias is without a contract and would like to return, but has no idea when. ... Hynes started Farnham against his former team. Farnham lost his helmet on the first trip down the ice. ... Actress Kate Hudson was among the fans in the stands.