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Kovalchuk leads Devils past Pens

Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and two 2 win over the Penguins.

Kovalchuk now has 10 points in his last four games -- all New Jersey victories. Zach Parise had a goal and an assist on Sunday while Anton Volchenkov and Dainius Zubrus also found the back of the net. Martin Brodeur made 28 saves and added an assist on David Clarkson's empty netter.

"We are consistently doing the right things," said Kovalchuk. "We create a lot of chances and defensively we didn't give much."

The shorthanded Penguins, playing without centers Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal, got a goal apiece from Evgeni Malkin and Matt Niskanen. They had won nine of 10 coming in.

Marc-Andre Fleury was coming off a 28-save performance against the Bruins, but was pulled Sunday after allowing three goals on 12 shots. Brent Johnson made 11 saves in his stead.

Kovalchuk isn't generally regarded as a pugilist, but he recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick -- a goal, an assist and a fight -- in Saturday's 6-4 win over the Flyers and continued his hot play by beating up on the Penguins a day later.

He scored less than three minutes in, one-timing home a feed from Patrik Elias, and had the Devils up 3-0 early in the second with assists on each of the next two tallies.

Volchenkov's goal came midway through the first on a deft give-and-go with Kovalchuk. It marked the first time Volchenkov found the back of the net since April 1, 2010.

Despite being shorthanded, Zubrus chased Fleury at the 2:28 mark of the second, burying a rebound after Kovalchuk forced a Penguins turnover at the blue line and put a hard-charging shot on net.

"They came out ready," said Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis. "We obviously got caught puck watching and didn't have the start we wanted."

Niskanen got Pittsburgh on the board 30 seconds later with a power play snap shot past Brodeur, but Parise's tip-in midway through the period re- established the three-goal margin.

The Penguins again struck on the power play 11:43 into the third, as Malkin walked in and fired a wrister past Brodeur from the left circle. They would get no closer, however, and Clarkson sealed the Devil's fourth straight win with a empty netter in the final minute.

Game Notes

This was the fourth of six meetings between the teams this season. The Devils have won three of four thus far...Brodeur has won three straight starts and is 6-2-1 in his last eight appearances...Clarkson scored his 20th goal of the season, marking the first time in his career that he has accomplished the feat.