January 16, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Jason Megna (12) breaks up ice with the puck against Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy (6) during the second period of the Penguins intrasquad scrimmage at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Devils Pad Divisional Lead With Second Straight Win Over Penguins

PITTSBURGH, P.A. — Weekends don’t get much better than that.

After Saturday’s thrilling 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New Jersey Devils matched that effort on Sunday, topping Pittsburgh, again, 3-1 at Consol Energy Center.

The win is the latest in New Jersey’s five game victory streak, moving its divisional lead to three points and helping it take over first place in the Eastern Conference overall.

The Devils (8-1-3), who last lost on Feb. 2, got two goals from David Clarkson and a goal from Ilya Kovalchuk to skate past the Penguins (8-5) on Sunday.

Aside from pushing its win streak to five games, New Jersey, which stopped Pittsburgh’s five-game win streak on Saturday, has handed the Penguins back-to-back losses. The teams will only play one more time this season — on April 25 in New Jersey.

After Clarkson used a toe drag to rip a wrist shot past Penguins’ goalie Tomas Vokoun late in the first period, the Devils added to it when Kovalchuk came in on a two-on-one with Adam Henrique and sniped a snap shot past Vokoun in the second period.

Less than two minutes later, Clarkson added his second goal of the night, tapping in a rebound from a shot from Patrik Elias on the power play, giving the Devils a comfortable 3-0 advantage.

It was Clarkson’s second two-goal night of the season. He also put home two against the New York Rangers last Tuesday.

Pittsburgh made an attempt at a comeback in the third period, when James Neal scored a power play goal 15 seconds in to cut the deficit to two goals.

But, as New Jersey has done during this win streak, it put together consecutive good shifts from all four lines, and it paid off. The Devils took the energy right back, not allowing the Penguins to build any momentum.

Devils’ goalie Johan Hedberg posted another impressive night, stopping 23 of the 24 shots he faced. In three games, he’s now 2-0-1 and has allowed two goals.

With the win, the Devils are now 2-0 on the back-end of back-to-back games this season. They beat the New York Islanders last Sunday after falling to the Penguins last Saturday.

During the Devils’ five-game win streak, each victory has come by at least two goals.

After an off-day on Monday, New Jersey will have its first meeting with the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday as it looks to maintain its divisional and conference lead.

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