There were plenty of firsts for the New Jersey Devils Saturday afternoon at Prudential Center.
Stefan Matteau scored his NHL goal.
Bobby Butler scored his first goal as a Devil.
Martin Brodeur became the first NHL goalie to appear in 1,200 games.
As a result, the Devils had their fourth straight win, a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, who manhandled the Devils a week ago, 5-1. The fallout from that lopsided loss catapulted the Devils into their current streak, one that will be put on the line against the same Penguins Sunday night in Pittsburgh.
"This win was huge for us," said New Jersey's Adam Henrique, who also scored in the victory, with his being the game-winner. "We didn't play our game against them last week. We did things to adjust. Our special teams have been really big lately. Our power play got the big plays down the stretch and when you get two, it always pays off."
The Penguins contributed mightily to their own demise in this one thanks to their inability to stay out of the penalty box and New Jersey capitialized with two goals with the man advantage.
"We kept our composure," Devils coach Peter DeBoer told reporters after the game, lauding his team for staying within the game plan despite failing to convert on their first six power plays.
"Whenever you give a team repeated power plays, it gets harder as you go along, and when you get to the seven, eight, nine and 10 area, or three or four in a period, it gets harder to kill those," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "Our PK and Marc were real strong early on. I think we weren't able to turn this into a 5-on-5 game after that point. We weren't able to get to any type of flow to the game or get into the offensive zone against that team. Again, with more penalty kills, eventually they were able to break through."
After the Penguins took an early lead on a Brandon Sutter goal, it looked like New Jersey was going to be up against it once again against Pittsburgh. But the Devils remained patient and Matteau scored his first goal off a nice feed from defenseman Andy Greene and the rookie ended up shooting into an empty net.
"It was a perfect seam pass from Andy," said Matteau, who saw his entry-level contract come into play when he played his sixth game of the season for the Devils.
"It was right on my stick, so I had to get that one," Matteau told reporters. "It's an amazing feeling to get my first NHL goal and I got it in a win. I hope it's the first of many. I thought I had a really strong game."
Butler, signed as a free agent after playing with the Ottawa Senators the previous two seasons, had a strong start to the season in the AHL, playing in that league's all-star game and showed it again Saturday with a power-play goal.
As for Brodeur, it was business as usual, picking up his 662nd victory.
Ilya Kovalchuk assisted on both third-period goals. Greene also had two assists.
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