Hughes scores twice, Devils hand Penguins 4th straight loss
PITTSBURGH– Jack Hughes scored two goals and the New Jersey Devils gave the Pittsburgh Penguins their fourth straight loss Friday, 4-2 at the PPG Paints Arena.
Dougie Hamilton had a goal and an assist, and Nico Hischier scored shorthanded for the Devils (23-11-2), who had lost two straight games and eight of nine. Vitek Vanecek Made 25 saves.
“Really rough performance,” said New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff. “It was a hard fought game, even 5v5 really nice. … I think we didn’t panic.”
Yevgeny Malkin and Jeff Carter scored, and Tristan Jarry made 24 saves for the Penguins (19-11-6), who were 0-2-2 during the hurdle and 1-3-2 in their last six games. It lost 5-1 at the New York Islanders on Tuesday before losing a four-goal lead in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh, who won 0-9 on the power play, next play the Boston Bruins in the Discover NHL Winter Classic 2023 at Fenway Park in Boston on Monday.
“I just think we weren’t that sharp. We tried to work through it,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said of the man advantage. “There was no flow in the game. It was mostly just special teams. The game was won and lost there.”
Video: [email protected]: Hughes breaks the game 1-1 with a PPG in 2nd place
Hischier scored from a man down to give New Jersey a 3-2 lead at 19:22 of the second period by taking a pass Michael McLeod and drive past Malkin to the right face-off circle for a wrist shot.
“I think it was definitely a turning point,” said Hischier, the Devils captain. “It was a hectic game out there. We kept our heads in the game and just trying to play our game and we did that for 60 minutes. … It just feels good. It definitely feels good to have this win tonight.”
The Penguins didn’t score on a four-minute power play after that Eric Hala received a double minor for high sticking Brian Dumoline at 9:02 of the third period.
“We just couldn’t get enough pucks and bodies in the net,” said the Pittsburgh forward Bryan Rost said. “They did a good job of getting on the lanes. We were a bit slow. Our powerplay has been good for a while.
Malkin gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 14:26 of the first period. He took out Hamilton on the opposite blue line for a breakaway and scored on the glove side of a snap.
Video: [email protected]: Malkin scores nice goal at breakaway
The Devils thought they leveled it at 3:21 of the second when Hamilton shot to the glove side from the right circle, but it was flagged down after Haula interfered with Jarry. The call was confirmed after Ruff challenged.
But Hughes leveled it at 1-1 on a 6:18 power play, taking a pass from Hamilton for a snap over Jarry’s right shoulder.
Carter put Pittsburgh back 2-1 up at 12:30 p.m. Pierre Olivier Joseph drove past the New Jersey defenders Jonas Siegenthaler and Severson before handing it over to Carter, who sent a return destined for Joseph, which was received by Siegenthaler.
Hamilton equalized with a wrist shot from a pass at 2-2 DawsonMercer at 5:37 p.m.
“We want to be on the other side of things,” Jarry said. “Only the way we played tonight was better than the previous two [losses]. I think we’re doing the right things. We just weren’t rewarded.”
Hughes scored his second goal into the empty net with five seconds left to make it 4-2. It was his 20th goal of the season and 13th in the past 16 games.
defender of the devils Damon Severson led all skaters with 30:41 ice time, including 12:08 on penalties.
“You don’t even think about it when you play in these games,” Severson said. “After the game when you’re told how much you’ve played or when you see how much you’ve played [you say], ‘Oh, ok, well, it seemed so because of all the special teams.’ … I had a great time playing this game.”
REMARKS: Defender of the Penguins Kris Letang did not play because of a lower body injury he sustained in Wednesday’s 4-5 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings. He is day by day. …Malkin’s 1,180. Point (456 goals, 724 assists) took and passed Sergei Fyodorov (1,179) for second tallest among Russian-born players in NHL history. Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin leads with 1,452. … Dumoulin had a shot on goal, three hits and a block in his 500th NHL game. … Hamilton’s assist in Hughes’ first goal was his 400th NHL point. With his goal, Hamilton has 401 points (123 goals, 278 assists) in 705 NHL games. … New Jersey is 18-0-1 if it leads after the second period.