PITTSBURGH — Taylor Hall beat Matt Murray on a breakaway 27 seconds into overtime to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.

Hall was all alone when Nico Hischier found him with a long lead pass. Hall then slipped the puck between Murray’s legs for his 33rd goal of the season as New Jersey picked up two vital points in the race for one of the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference.

Hall added two assists for New Jersey. Hischier finished with a goal and an assist, and Blake Coleman and Will Butcher also scored for the Devils. Keith Kincaid made 40 stops for the Devils, who finished a season-high six-game trip 4-2.

Sidney Crosby scored his 25th of the season for Pittsburgh. Brian Dumolin and Phil Kessel scored in the third period as the Penguins erased a two-goal deficit. Murray finished with 30 saves as the Penguins lost for just the second time in their last 17 home games.

New Jersey’s drive to end a six-year playoff drought has stalled since the All-Star break. A lopsided loss in San Jose dropped the Devils to just 13-12 since Jan. 30 and skated onto the ice at PPG Paints Arena with a tenuous grasp on the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Yet whatever issues the Devils have seem to disappear when they play the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. New Jersey is 3-0 against Pittsburgh this season and recovered after being dominated early by the Penguins. Crosby gave Pittsburgh a quick lead by slamming home a rebound 2:29 into the game – a far cry from the highlight double-tap he flicked to key a victory over Montreal on Wednesday.


Butcher’s wrist shot from above the left circle 5:15 into the second tied it. When the Penguins failed to convert a three-on-one, Coleman countered by holding off Pittsburgh’s forward Derick Brassard with his left hand and flicking a backhand by Murray with his right just over two minutes later.

CANADIENS 3, SABRES 0: Antti Niemi stopped 35 shots for his first shutout in 27 months, and Montreal won at Buffalo, New York, to snap a seven-game road skid.

Artturi Lehkonen scored the go-ahead goal by converting a puck that bounced off the end boards 4:56 into the second period. Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher then scored empty-net goals 22 seconds apart in the final 1:15 to seal the win.

Montreal had lost its past four overall and gone 0-5-2 on the road since a 6-3 win at the New York Islanders on March 2.

Niemi improved to 6-8-4 since being claimed by Montreal after being waived by Florida in mid-November. The shutout was the 36th of his career but first since a 20-save performance in the Dallas Stars’ 4-0 win over Chicago on Dec. 22, 2015.


DICK GAMBLE, a Stanley Cup champion and American Hockey League Hall of Famer, died in Pittsford, New York, at age 89.

Gamble won the Stanley Cup in 1953 as a member of the Montreal Canadiens and captured the AHL’s Calder Cup three times with Rochester. The left wing is fourth on the AHL career list in goals (468) and fifth in points (892 points).

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