Devils’ third-period implosion gives Pens the edge

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby each scored twice in Pittsburgh’s five-goal third period and the Penguins kept their playoff hopes alive, rallying for a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

The Devils led 3-1 after two periods on goals by Timo Meier, Curtis Lazar and Jesper Bratt. Crosby and Malkin scored 67 seconds apart early in the third to tie the score.

Rickard Rakell then put Pittsburgh ahead with 3:44 to play with his 13th goal before Malkin scored again 21 seconds later. Crosby made it 6-3 with his team-leading 39th goal at 17:07, an unassisted empty netter.

Erik Karlsson opened the scoring for Pittsburgh at 7:54 of the first before Meier knotted the contest on the power play with 16.6 seconds left in the first, rifling his 25th goal past Alex Nedeljkovic, who had 23 saves.

Lazar’s goal at 9:42 of the second put New Jersey ahead before Bratt extended the lead with his 25th goal on a breakaway at 17:47 of the middle period.

Crosby scored on the power play at 6:48 of the third before Malkin scored at 7:55.

Jake Allen had 15 saves for New Jersey.

Crosby leads the Penguins with 84 points and his 1,586 career points are the most among active players. The 36-year-old center is four points behind Phil Esposito for 10th place on the career list.

The Penguins defeated the Rangers 5-2 on Monday night as Crosby and Bryan Rust each scored twice.

The Penguins are 386-87-46 when Crosby and Malkin score in the same game.

Pittsburgh is trying to avoid a second straight season without making the playoffs for the first time in Crosby’s career, which began in 2005-06.

The Devils downed the Penguins 5-2 at home on March 19 and also won 5-2 in Pittsburgh last Nov. 16.