In the NHL’s central game on Saturday the New Jersey Devils handed the Pittsburgh Penguins their fourth consecutive loss, with Russian players playing key roles in bothsquads.
Evgeny Malkin opened the scoring for Pittsburgh, who were eager to end their losing streak.
The Devils leveled things on the ice midway through the second period courtesy of Adam Henrique, and then it was Ilya Kovalchuk’s turn to take center stage. The Russian scored the winner some three minutes later and then assisted Dainius Zubrus early in the third period to push all doubts aside before the final result.
Martin Brodeur made 41 saves for the Devils, who beat the Penguins for the second time in eight days and leapfrogged them in the Eastern Conference.
Pittsburgh have scored a modest five goals in losing its past four games – all to Atlantic Division opponents. It’s the Penguins’ longest losing streak in more than two years.
Four weeks ago, the Penguins were leading the pack in the Eastern Conference; now, they have only just made the playoff, settling for 8th.