PITTSBURGH – Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust each scored their 20th goal of the season, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New Jersey Devils 4-2 on Saturday.
Crosby got an empty-netter with 0.1 seconds to play. His goal came following a tense net-mouth scramble in which the Devils nearly tied the game.
Crosby surpassed Evgeni Malkin and Mario Lemieux for the most 20-plus goal seasons in franchise history. He’s the 36th player in NHL history to have 13 or more 20-plus goal seasons.
“It’s hard to score 20 goals in this league,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “I don’t think it’s ever routine. I think guys that reach that milestone consistently are really good players.”
Jeff Carter, who was acquired by Pittsburgh in an April 12 trade with the Los Angeles Kings, scored his 10th of the season and second in three games. Casey DeSmith stopped 34 shots and Jared McCann scored a power-play goal for the Penguins, who have 13 wins and points in 15 of their last 18 games overall.
Pittsburgh completed a three-game series sweep of New Jersey. The Penguins, who have points in their last nine home games, have nine wins in their last 12 games against the Devils.
New Jersey dropped its ninth straight game and 13th in 14 games overall. Miles Wood scored his 15th goal for the Devils, and Jack Hughes got his 11th.
Mackenzie Blackwood made 36 saves for the Devils after missing the previous two games with an upper-body injury. He is winless in his last nine starts since March 30.