Holiday break not enough for New Jersey Devils against Sidney Crosby (Highlights) 1
Dec 27, 2016; Newark, NJ, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) skates with the puck towards the net of New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (35) during the first period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

They thought a three-day break would be just the thing the New Jersey Devils needed to get the engine rolling in the second game of a home and home against the Pittsburgh Penguins (23-8-5) at the Prudential Center.

The opening chapter was promising as PA Parenteau and Adam Henrique put the Devils up 2-1 after one period. Evgeni Malkin was the lone scorer for the Penguins evening the game with his 15th before New Jersey went ahead again.

But it was Taylor Hall’s hustle that produced results early as his forecheck nabbed him an interception at the Penguin blue line and his subsequent splitting of two defenders ended with a neat feed to Parenteau who tapped it past Marc-Andre Fleury for the goal.

Hall was instrumental again, as he dug the puck from left of goal and passed it out setting up two passes and on the rebound was embedded in the trenches shielding the shot from Fleury’s eyes. But Marc would shut the Devils out the rest of the way.

The game turned through the dominating play of Sidney Crosby who tied the match with his 25th goal of the season and added his second assist of the game, this one to Justin Schultz to put Pittsburgh ahead 3-2 and restore order to the hockey universe. Not bad for a guy who missed the opening eight games this season with a concussion.

“You see a lot of his goals this year are deflections and tips,” Hall observed, “In the new NHL, team’s are so good at defending, you’ve got to find new ways to score, and he’s obviously doing that this year.”

The third session, however, confirmed that the Devils are not one of those good defending teams as the Penguins added two more goals to take a commanding 5-2 lead with the Swede Carl Oliver Hagelin and Bryan Rust ruining Devil goaltender Cory Schneider in the process and sweeping both games from the reeling Devils (13-15-7).

The Devils couldn’t even take advantage of a four-minute high sticking penalty that left Hall bloodied with just under six minutes remaining.

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