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Devils coach blames himself for slow start in loss to Penguins

Dec 13, 2013, 9:58 PM EDT

New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider, left, looks at the scoreboard as he stands in front of New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur during a timeout in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) AP

The Pittsburgh Penguins made things difficult for New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider with three goals in the first 14:40 minutes of Friday’s contest. It looked like the start of a blowout, but in the end the Penguins have to be happy just to walk away with a 3-2 victory.

“We weren’t ready to play,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “That’s on me. We have to be ready to go at the start of the game. First period killed us.”

The Devils came back hard in the second frame, outshooting Pittsburgh 19-5. Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus netted back-to-back goals within 56 seconds, but goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury kept Pittsburgh in the game. In the end, Fleury needed to stop 37 of 39 shots to earn his 18th win of the season.

Crosby picked up an assist to bring his latest point streak to five games. He leads the league with 44 points in 33 contests.

New Jersey has now lost two straight games and remain three points shy of a playoff spot. The Penguins led the Metropolitan Division with a 22-10-1 record.

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