Penguins use third-period surge to double up Devils, 6-3

The Pittsburgh Penguins scored five unanswered goals to erase a third-period deficit and beat the New Jersey Devils 6-3 on Tuesday night in Newark, N.J.

Evgeni Malkin scored twice and added an assist, Sidney Crosby added a pair of goals and Michael Bunting and Bryan Rust each had two helpers for the Penguins, who avoided being swept in the three-game season series with New Jersey.

Erik Karlsson and Rickard Rakell also scored for the Penguins, and Alex Nedeljkovic made 23 saves for his second win in as many nights.

With the win, Pittsburgh (34-30-11, 79 points) created a three-point cushion over the Devils (36-35-4, 76 points) in the Eastern Conference wild-card race.

Timo Meier, Curtis Lazar and Jesper Bratt had the New Jersey goals, while Jake Allen stopped 15 shots in the loss.

Pittsburgh scored twice in 67 seconds in the third period to erase a 3-1 deficit.

Crosby pulled the Penguins within one on the power play at 6:48 of the third, wristing a shot past Allen for his 38th goal of the season.

Pittsburgh tied it 3-3 when Malkin redirected a Jack St. Ivany shot past Allen at 7:55 of the third for his 22nd goal.

Rakell tipped a Marcus Pettersson shot past Allen for his 13th marker of the season with 3:44 remaining in the third.

Twenty-two seconds later, Malkin tapped in Bunting’s pass, and Crosby added an empty-netter with 2:53 remaining.

New Jersey outshot Pittsburgh 11-8 in the second period and took a 3-1 lead into the third.

Lazar gave the Devils a 2-1 lead just before the midpoint of the second period, beating Nedeljkovic for his seventh goal of the season.

The Devils took a two-goal edge on Bratt’s breakaway tally with 2:13 remaining in the frame.

The teams were tied 1-1 after 20 minutes.

Karlsson opened the scoring 7:54 into the first period when his shot redirected off Devils defenseman Simon Nemec and past Allen for his ninth goal.

Meier tied it 1-1 on the power play with 17 seconds remaining, recording his 25th marker of the campaign.

New Jersey won the first two meetings between the clubs by identical 5-2 decisions.