Devils use penalty shot to defeat Penguins, spoil Crosby season debut


PITTSBURGH — Jesper Bratt scored on a penalty shot with 3:00 remaining in the third period, and the New Jersey Devils spoiled Sidney Crosby‘s season debut by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday.

After being Crosby was called for tripping when he pushed Bratt into Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry, Bratt deked to his backhand to score on the penalty and make it 3-2. Andreas Johnsson scored into an empty net for his second goal of the game and the 4-2 final with 1:43 left.

Jonathan Bernier made 33 saves in his return to the lineup for the Devils (4-2-0), who played on the road for the first time. Bernier had missed three games with a lower-body injury.

Crosby had two shots on goal, two hits and two blocked shots in 19:16 of ice time, and fellow center Jeff Carter also returned for the Penguins (3-3-2), who have lost three straight, all in regulation, following a five-game point streak to start the season. Crosby missed the first seven games after having wrist surgery Sept. 8; Carter, who had four shots in 21:31, was out for three games while in the NHL COVID-19 protocol.

Jarry made 36 saves for Pittsburgh.

Danton Heinen put the Penguins ahead 1-0 at 12:23 of the first period. Juuso Riikola backhanded a pass into the crease that Zach Aston-Reese tipped on net before Heinen scored on a rebound from the slot.

Johnsson tied it 1-1 by shooting off the back of Pittsburgh forward Evan Rodrigues‘ leg and in at 19:23.

Jimmy Vesey gave New Jersey a 2-1 lead with a shorthanded goal at 17:57 of the second period. Crosby attempted a pass back to John Marino at the point, but Vesey tipped it past the defenseman for a breakaway before scoring with a backhand through the five-hole.

Brock McGinn tied it 2-2 at 2:02 of the third period. Teddy Blueger sent a pass out front while falling behind the goal line, setting up McGinn for a wrist shot from the slot.

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