NEWARK, N.J. — Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and two assists to snap out of a scoring slump and the Devils beat the Stanley Cup champion Penguins for the fifth straight time, 3-1 on Friday night.
Martin Brodeur made 33 saves for his 37th win of the season and 594th overall.
The Devils, who have outscored Pittsburgh 16-3 during the run, pulled within two points of the Penguins for first place in the Atlantic Division with 16 games to play.
New Jersey also tied Montreal's league record for consecutive seasons with 40 or more wins with 13. Montreal won 40 or more games in 13 straight seasons from 1971 to 1983, when regulation ties were not broken in overtime or shootouts.
Kovalchuk, who had three goals and five assists in 10 games with the Devils since arriving in a trade with Atlanta on Feb. 4, assisted on the Devils' first two goals then fired home a wrist shot from the blue line for his 35th goal of the season.
Sidney Crosby scored the lone goal for the Penguins, who lost for the second straight game after winning five straight. The goal was Crosby's 45th and gave him the league lead. He had been tied with the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin, who didn't score in a loss to the Lightning.
Kovalchuk was awarded a penalty shot with 1:49 left in the second period after he was pulled down from behind by Penguins defenseman Kris Letang on a breakaway. Kovalchuk fired the shot right into goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's pads.
Game highlights: Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik gave the Rangers the lead with goals 41 seconds apart in the first period in a 5-2 win over the host Thrashers to end a four-game losing streak. Defenseman Chris Chelios, the 48-year-old 11-time All-Star, played 10 minutes in his home debut for the Thrashers, who lost their fifth straight. He was recalled from AHL Chicago on Wednesday. … Goalie Josh Harding, making his second straight start for injured Niklas Backstrom, made 43 saves in the visiting Wild's 3-2 win over the Sabres. Thomas Vanek scored twice for Buffalo.
Flyers: Forward Dan Carcillo will not be suspended for shoving a linesman during Thursday's 5-1 loss to the Bruins. NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell said in an e-mail to CSNPhilly.com that the linesman could have recommended suspending Carcillo under the physical abuse of officials rule but decided not to. "And I am fine with their decision," he wrote in the e-mail, reported by the TSN TV network, Canada's version of ESPN. Carcillo got a 10-minute misconduct penalty after he pushed off linesman Greg Devorski, who was trying to separate the forward and Boston's Matt Hunwick from fighting.
First Period—1, New Jersey, Elias 12 (Greene, Kovalchuk), 1:43. 2, Pittsburgh, Crosby 45 (Kunitz, Dupuis), 2:25. Penalties—Skoula, NJ (holding), 3:38; Fedotenko, Pit (tripping), 18:13; Langenbrunner, NJ (interference), 18:33.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Letang, Pit (holding), 1:37; Adams, Pit, major-game misconduct (charging), 4:10; Rupp, Pit (slashing), 11:53; Letang, Pit (roughing), 13:26; Zubrus, NJ (roughing), 13:26; Fedotenko, Pit, misconduct, 15:24; Malkin, Pit (interference), 15:24; Niedermayer, NJ (roughing, cross-checking), 15:24; White, NJ, misconduct, 15:24.
Third Period—3, New Jersey, Greene 6 (Kovalchuk, Salvador), 2:06. 4, New Jersey, Kovalchuk 35 (Zubrus, Zajac), 9:59. Penalties—Cooke, Pit, major (fighting), :03; Niedermayer, NJ, major (fighting), :03; Kunitz, Pit (slashing), 5:56; Langenbrunner, NJ (high-sticking, roughing), 5:56; Mottau, NJ (high-sticking), 14:33. Missed Penalty Shot—Kovalchuk, NJ, 18:11 second. Shots on Goal—Pittsburgh 13-7-15—35. New Jersey 8-19-5—32. Power-play opportunities—Pittsburgh 0 of 5; New Jersey 0 of 4. Goalies—Pittsburgh, Fleury 31-17-4 (32 shots-29 saves). New Jersey, Brodeur 37-22-3 (35-34). A—17,625 (17,625).
First Period—1, N.Y. Rangers, Prospal 16 (Gaborik, Girardi), 7:49. 2, N.Y. Rangers, Gaborik 36 (Drury, Prospal), 8:30 (pp). 3, N.Y. Rangers, Prospal 17 (Drury, Callahan), 13:26 (pp). Penalties—Hedberg, Atl, served by Bergfors (delay of game), 7:56; Kubina, Atl (tripping), 11:23; Thorburn, Atl (holding), 12:19.
Second Period—4, Atlanta, MacArthur 15 (Peverley, Kubina), 2:33 (pp). 5, N.Y. Rangers, Del Zotto 7 (Gaborik), 17:32. Penalties—Jokinen, NYR (hooking), :43; Dubinsky, NYR (roughing), 7:51; Boulton, Atl (roughing), 7:51; Rozsival, NYR (boarding), 17:52; Little, Atl (high-sticking), 18:53.
Third Period—6, Atlanta, Hainsey 4 (Thorburn), 11:26. 7, N.Y. Rangers, Callahan 18, 18:54 (en). Penalties—Slater, Atl (holding), 4:15; Anisimov, NYR (holding), 8:33; Shelley, NYR (hooking), 13:18; Artyukhin, Atl (charging), 19:26. Shots on Goal—N.Y. Rangers 12-14-9—35. Atlanta 8-12-11—31. Power-play opportunities—N.Y. Rangers 2 of 6; Atlanta 1 of 4. Goalies—N.Y. Rangers, Lundqvist 27-23-8 (31 shots-29 saves). Atlanta, Hedberg 16-13-5 (34-30). A—15,571 (18,545).
First Period—1, Minnesota, Ebbett 8 (Zidlicky, Harding), 3:02 (pp). 2, Minnesota, Latendresse 24, 10:11. Penalties—Roy, Buf (tripping), 2:01; Sheppard, Min (holding), 7:17; Nolan, Min, major (fighting), 15:42; Montador, Buf, major (fighting), 15:42; Miettinen, Min (hooking), 16:14.
Second Period—3, Minnesota, Brunette 19 (Miettinen), 18:35. Penalties—Schultz, Min (hooking), 1:50; Ebbett, Min (interference), 7:20; Mair, Buf (cross-checking), 7:20; Scott, Min (cross-checking), 14:37; Mancari, Buf (high-sticking), 19:49.
Third Period—4, Buffalo, Vanek 21 (Roy, Pominville), 3:42 (pp). 5, Buffalo, Vanek 22 (Pominville, Hecht), 18:02.
Penalties—Koivu, Min (tripping), 2:56; Koivu, Min (tripping), 5:46. Shots on Goal—Minnesota 15-10-8—33. Buffalo 15-12-18—45. Power-play opportunities—Minnesota 1 of 2; Buffalo 1 of 6. Goalies—Minnesota, Harding 6-9-0 (45 shots-43 saves). Buffalo, Lalime 3-5-2 (33-30). A—18,690 (18,690).