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Devils Unable To Win At CONSOL Energy Center, Fall To Pens, 4-2

The CONSOL Energy Center hasn't been very friendly to the New Jersey Devils (36-38-5). 

The Pittsburgh Penguins (47-25-8) stretched their home unbeaten streak over New Jersey to three games with a 4-2 win tonight.

The Pens moved within one point of the Philadelphia Flyers for first in the Atlantic Division. They also remain three points behind the conference-leading Washington Capitals.

The Devils, playing for nothing but pride, dropped their second straight game. The team, already eliminated from the playoffs, is now in danger of finishing under NHL-.500.

Jordan Staal opened the scoring with 2:23 left in the first period. With the Penguins on the powerplay, Staal took a pass from James Neal and moved into the Devils zone. He beat defenseman Mark Fraser and skated into the left circle. Johan Hedberg came out for a poke attempt, but it failed as Staal lifted the puck over the Devils' goalie for his 11th goal of the season.

David Steckel tied the game, 1-1, with 4:52 remaining in the second period. Rod Pelley started the play, setting up behind the net. Pelley sent a pass to the front of the net, and Steckel tucked the puck under the crossbar for his first goal and point as a Devil.

Steckel, whose hit during the Winter Classic contributed to Sidney Crosby's concussion symptoms, was booed loudly by the crowd.

Pascal Dupuis would make the home fans happy, putting the Penguins ahead, 2-1, with 3:39 left in the middle period. Pittsburgh broke into the Devils' zone on a 3-on-2 rush. Hedberg stopped Maxime Talbot's initial shot, but could not control the rebound. Dupuis backhanded the loose puck into the net for his 15th goal of the season.

Chris Kunitz increased the lead to 3-1 at 1:31 of the third period. Tyler Kennedy set up the play, with his pass helping Kunitz get around Henrik Tallinder. Kunitz backhanded a puck around Hedberg for his 23rd of the season.

Brian Rolston brought the Devils to within one with his goal at 4:32 of the final period. Mattias Tedenby held the puck in the bottom of the left circle and fed Rolston with a pass. The left-winger fired a shot from the high slot that beat Marc-Andre Fleury. It was Rolston's 14th of the year.

Dupuis would end any hopes of a comeback, sealing the victory with an empty-net goal with 1:01 remaining in the game.