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Thursday, January 20, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Devils 2, Penguins 0

By Mike Mazzeo

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: If the last five games are an indication of what is to come for the New Jersey Devils, interim coach Jacques Lemaire should win the Jack Adams Award. Hands down. After losing seven of their first eight games under Lemaire, the Devils (14-29-3) have now won four of their last five. They beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0 on Thursday night at the Prudential Center and have now accumulated nine of the last 10 possible points (4-0-1). The Penguins may have been without Sidney Crosby (concussion) and Evgeni Malkin (undisclosed injury), but the way the Devils were playing -- both offensively and defensively -- it may not have mattered even if the dynamic scoring duo was in the lineup.

YOU'RE THE BEST AROUND: Future Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur (9-18-2) was his vintage self again, making 23 saves to record his first shutout since Dec. 15. For Brodeur, it was his NHL-record 114th career shutout and 611th win.

HEY! NICE SHOT! Just 1 minute, 38 seconds in, Brian Rolston gave the Devils the lead. He blasted a one-timer from the top of the left circle off a drop pass from Patrik Elias to put New Jersey up 1-0. Rookie Nick Palmieri made it 2-0 at 10:09 when he stole the puck from former Devil Paul Martin behind the net, stepped out in front and flipped a backhander past Pittsburgh netminder Brent Johnson.

SURVIVING THE SECOND: The middle frame has been hell for the Devils. Coming in, they'd been outscored 57-29 in second periods -- you know, the ones with the long change. But Thursday night, neither team scored. And the Devils will take an even second anytime. They took their two-goal lead into the third and improved to 10-0-1 when leading after two.

TAKING LIBERTIES: Maxime Talbot was called for two interference penalties for running over Brodeur. Clearly, that didn't make fourth-liner Tim Sestito very happy. Midway through the third, they dropped the gloves. Ultimately, with a couple of rights, Sestito prevailed.

WHOA: Midway through the first period, Ilya Kovalchuk was teeing up for a point shot when his stick snapped. No surprise there. What was a surprising was that half the stick flew over the netting behind the Penguins' goal and into the crowd. Talk about a souvenir.

UP NEXT: An afternoon road game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, followed by a home matinee versus the Florida Panthers on Sunday.