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Penguins Clinch Playoffs With Shutout Over Devils

Marc-Andre Fleury powered the Pens past the Devils for his fourth shutout of the season

The Pittsburgh Penguins powered their way past the New Jersey Devils for the second time this week to earn two points for the win while simultaneously edging themselves into the playoffs for the second time in just as many years.

Ryan Malone initiated the scoring early in the first on a power play goal.  The Devils tried to answer back, but the attacks were halted by the Penguins defense.  Rob Scuderi, back in the lineup since suffering broken fingers almost a month ago, made his presence known.  Scuderi provided a solid backcheck combined with a few blocked shots to keep the puck out of the Penguins zone.  Whatever attack the Devils were able to muster up through the Penguins was quickly turned aside by Fleury.

Marc-Andre Fleury was flawless, though challenged often from the New Jersey offense.  Although the shots were in abundance the attacks seemed scattered and unorganized.  Most of Fleury's stops were redirects from longer shots, as the Penguins' D didn't leave much room in front of the net for the Devils to work with.

Hal Gill also worked the boards with demonic aggression, providing another solid nod to the front office in regards to their deadline moves.

The play went back and forth for the remainder of the game, chances provided and turned aside by and for both teams.  With a minute remaining in the game, New Jersey's Martin Brodeur rushed to the bench in favor of the extra attacker.

Ryan Malone cleared the zone to Marian Hossa, who quickly fired off the game-winning wrister.  

Also worth noting: the Rangers dropped a 1-0 lead to the Flyers, ultimately falling 2-1 in overtime.  The fortunate thing is that the Rangers lost; however both team managed to pull out at least a point.

The Penguins now stand four points ahead of the Devils in the Atlantic, six in front of the Rangers and seven ahead of the Flyers.  The offseason bound Islanders await the Penguins Thursday night, but have already shown they're not going out without a fight.

The puck drops at 7:30.