PITTSBURGH -- Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside all 27 New Jersey shots, including a penalty shot, Thursday night in Pittsburgh to earn his 250 career win as the Penguins topped the Devils 3-0.
Chuck Kobasew, who inked a contract Wednesday, notched his first goal as a Penguin midway through the first, which proved to be the game-winner in Fleury's 250th career victory.
Both teams were looking for fresh starts after disappointing ends to last season. The Devils began life without Ilya Kovalchuk after missing the playoffs for just the third time in 23 seasons. Meanwhile, the Penguins looked to start anew after their embarrassing Eastern Conference finals sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins.
Pittsburgh struck first when newcomer Kobasew found a rebound of a Brandon Sutter shot that handcuffed Devils goaltender Cory Schneider. The resulting rebound popped to the stick of Kobasew, who pushed it past Schneider to give the Penguins a 1-0 advantage at 9:26 of the first.
Less than three minutes later, the Penguins scored again off a brilliant effort from Sidney Crosby. The Pittsburgh captain glided through center ice where he took a chip pass from Pascal Dupuis and used his speed to break in alone on Schneider. When he got to the hash mark of the left faceoff circle he unleashed a laser of a wrist shot that beat the New Jersey netminder over his glove hand at the 12:19 mark of the first. The assist for Dupuis was his 200th career helper.
The Penguins added a third goal when winger Craig Adams beat Schneider with a wrist shot from the right wing circle at 11:42 of the third.
Shortly thereafter, Fleury made an incredible behind the back glove save on a shot that deflected off of the post to preserve the shutout. The final test for Fleury came with 3:59 left in the third when he stopped Adam Henrique on a penalty shot with a right pad save.
NOTES: Penguins LW James Neal logged just 3:49 of ice time in the first period and did not return after the first frame. He had been dealing with a lower body injury and there was speculation that he would not dress for the game. ... Pittsburgh RW Craig Adams appeared in his 800th career game. ... With Schneider getting the start in goal, Martin Brodeur's NHL record for consecutive season-opening starts with the same team ended at 18. ... D Olli Maatta, 19, became the youngest rookie defensemen to start the season with the Penguins since Kris Letang in the 2006-07 season. ... Devils RW Jaromir Jagr began the night tied with Phil Esposito for the most game-winning goals in NHL history. ... Scratches for Pittsburgh were D Deryk Engelland and F Joe Vitale. Letang is on injured reserve due to a lower-body issue. ... Scratches for New Jersey were D Mark Fayne, C Patrik Elias (lower body), C Jacob Josefson and LW Rostislav Olesz. ... The Penguins' next game will be Saturday when they host the Buffalo Sabres. The Devils will be in action again Friday when they host the New York Islanders to complete their first of 22 sets of back-to-back games.
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