Series (Game 1 of 8)

New Jersey leads 5-3

Game 1: Wednesday, October 5th
Game 2: Thursday, October 20th
Game 3: Tuesday, November 1st
Game 4: Thursday, December 29th
Game 5: Saturday, March 11th
Game 6: Thursday, March 16th
Game 7: Sunday, April 2nd
Game 8: Wednesday, April 5th

Penguins 1

(0-1-0, 0 pts)

Devils 5

(1-0-0, 2 pts)

7:30 PM ET, October 5, 2005

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, New Jersey

1 2 3 T
PIT 0 0 11
NJ 2 1 25

Top Skaters

Pittsburgh: M. Recchi - 1 G, 3 SOG,

New Jersey: B. Gionta - 2 G, 1 A, 6 SOG, +1

Brodeur rains on Crosby's opening night parade

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- With the hockey world watching, the first-round draft pick lived up to all of his expectations and more with a goal and two points in his first NHL game.

Sidney Crosby

AP photo/Mel Evans

Sidney Crosby (left) battles for the puck during Pittsburgh's 5-1 loss at New Jersey Wednesday night.
AP photo/Mel Evans

Sidney Crosby, it wasn't.

Zach Parise, New Jersey's first-round draft pick in 2003, scored a power-play goal and assisted on one of Brian Gionta's two goals in an outstanding debut that led the New Jersey Devils to a 5-1 victory over Crosby's Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

Sergei Brylin also scored twice for New Jersey.

Crosby, the NHL's most-awaited rookie in a generation and the 18-year-old poster child of the new-look league on its first opening night in two years, had one assist in a long-awaited unveiling game that drew as much attention in his native Canada as a Stanley Cup final.

The Penguins, the NHL's worst team when the league last played in 2003-04, sank millions into a dramatic offseason reshaping after lucking out and winning the draft lottery, then choosing Crosby. His Canadian junior career paralleled that of stars such as Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky and Guy Lafleur, and more than 200 out-of-town media members showed up to watch his debut.

Crosby not only couldn't match Lemieux's feat of scoring on the first shot of the first shift of his career, he didn't get a goal. His lone assist, on Mark Recchi's power-play goal in the third, didn't come until New Jersey was up by four goals.

Immediately afterward, the poised and mature-for-his-years Crosby allowed himself a moment worthy of a teenager, staring intently at the scoreboard to watch for the replay after he returned to the bench. At least his mother, father and younger sister will have one memory to take back with them to Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, after attending the game Crosby said he has waited to play since he first began playing at age 3.

And while the game would have sold out any Canadian arena from Vancouver to Cole Harbour, it was a surprisingly less-than-full house of 18,101 at Continental Airlines Arena, rather than the listed capacity of 19,040.

Other than Crosby's point, there wasn't much else for the Penguins or Crosby to watch on a night Pittsburgh probably had a hard time believing longtime Devils defensive stars Scott Stevens (retired) and Scott Niedermayer (signed with Anaheim) are no longer with the team.

The game resembled most Penguins-Devils games of recent vintage, with the Penguins working tirelessly to get shots on Martin Brodeur but never getting one past him, and the Devils repeatedly taking advantage of Pittsburgh mistakes. Brodeur was as superb in ever in goal, turning aside 36 shots.

The Penguins went 1-for-11 on the power play, even with Hall of Famer Lemieux getting plenty of ice time on his 40th birthday and teaming at times with Crosby. They twice couldn't score with two-man advantages, one of 1:18 in the first period and the second of 1:21 in the third.

Pittsburgh seemed to have the puck nearly every second of the opening 8 minutes, going 0-for-4 on the power play during that stretch, yet it was Brylin who got the first goal by backhanding a rebound of Dan McGillis' shot from the left point past new Penguins goalie Jocelyn Thibault.

Parise drew the biggest crowd reaction of the night by making it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 19:25 of the second, scoring off Gionta's rebound.

Late in the second, Gionta stole the puck from defenseman Brooks Orpik in the Penguins zone and skated in to beat Thibault unassisted. About then, the crowd started chanting, "overrated" -- a swipe not just at Crosby but well-known Penguins teammates such as Recchi, John LeClair and Sergei Gonchar.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press