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Devils rally to force OT beat Penguins

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- In a matter of minutes, the New Jersey Devils
went from leaving with no points to earning two.

Brian Gionta scored the game-winner with 2:36 to play in
overtime after Patrik Elias had tied the game with 20 seconds left
in regulation to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 Sunday afternoon.

"I'm sure a lot of people were counting us out with 2 minutes
left," defenseman Colin White said. "We had been in this
situation before and always seem to come up a little bit short. The
timing could not have been better to get two points."

The Devils, who also got a goal from Jay Pandolfo, moved into
sole possession of sixth place in the Eastern Conference with
fourth straight win and fifth in their last six games.

"It was a great win to finish a great week," winger Jamie
Langenbrunner said.

Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist and Ryan Whitney added
two assists for Pittsburgh, which led 2-1 through most of the final
40 minutes of regulation.

"We were 20 seconds away from being able to say what a great
game we played," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said.

The Devils' chances for a comeback were nearly lost when Crosby
had a breakaway on Martin Brodeur with 2½ minutes remaining in
regulation during a 4-on-4 situation. However, Brodeur said he
noticed while studying game film that Crosby liked to shoot high
during penalty shots. Sure enough, the Penguins' rookie star
attempted to flip a shot to the goalie's glove side, and Brodeur
made the save.

"I read it pretty well," said Brodeur, who had 24 saves for
his 36th win of the season. "I just got a good piece of it with my
glove."

That play allowed New Jersey to make its late-game heroics. The
tying goal came while the Devils had two extra skaters after
pulling Brodeur during a power play following a hooking minor to
Pittsburgh's Josef Melichar with 1:26 left in the third.

After the Penguins twice missed open nets on long shots, Elias
scored while in the slot when he got his stick on a puck that had
been shot by Brian Rafalski at the right point. The puck hit goalie
Marc-Andre Fleury but spun over his head into the net. It was
Elias' 10th goal of the season and only his third in the last 14
games.

"I saw (Rafalski) make a shot-pass and I had a lane in front of
me so I wanted to get a stick on it," Elias said. "It took a long
time to get into the net."

The Devils almost won it at the end of regulation when John
Madden hit the post as time expired. However, Gionta got the
game-winner when he scored his 42nd goal of the season after
picking up a loose puck at his own blue line, skating down the left
wing and firing a slap shot past Fleury.

"(Sergei Brylin) made a nice play to get me the puck," Gionta
said. "When you come in at that angle, you know where to shoot
it."

The game's first three goals were scored in a span of 2:18 from
the closing 2 minutes of the first period through the initial
moments of the second.

Crosby gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead when his wrist shot from the
right circle went into the upper left corner of the net with 1:55
to play in the opening period.

"I think were a better team with the lead," Crosby said. "We
play with a lot more confidence when we do have that so its
important to try to get that first goal or first couple and just
try to carry the play from there on in."

Crosby then assisted on the next goal, making a nifty backhand
pass from behind the net to Colby Armstrong.

Armstrong's shot appeared to go into the net, but the goal light
did not go on. The referees, however, stopped play and pointed to
the net, signaling a goal was scored.

The play was reviewed by the video officials, and Armstrong's
13th goal was allowed to stand.

"Other than the first period, I thought we played a solid
game," Langenbrunner said. "We snapped out of making those
mistakes we made in the first period and played better during the
second and third."

The Devils, who beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 less than 24
hours earlier, closed within 2-1 early in the second period on
Pandolfo's goal.

"The last two days to get four points is a great feeling,"
Brodeur said. "All year we haven't been able to come back much
with a pulled goalie so its nice to make it happen."

Game notes
Gonchar, who assisted on Crosby's goal, has at least a
point in five consecutive games, tallying four goals and four
assists in that time. ... The Penguins moved to within two points
of idle St. Louis for 29th place overall in the league. ... Crosby
is second among rookies in points (85) and goals and is first in
assists (51).