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Jagr Gives Lemieux First Win

Even though the playoffs are now history, Jaromir Jagr and the Pittsburgh Penguins are still finding ways to frustrate Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils.

Jagr had the go-ahead goal and two assists and the Penguins gave Mario Lemieux his first win as an owner, defeating New Jersey 7-5 Thursday night in a game in which Brodeur was ejected for whacking Matthew Barnaby in the legs with his stick.

The mild-mannered Brodeur and the pesky Barnaby disagreed over how hard the goaltender hit him, but referee Paul Stewart felt it was bad enough to call a match penalty at 14:32 of the first period. Pittsburgh led 3-1 at that point on three goals by Alexei Morozov.

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  • The penalty does not carry an automatic suspension but Colin Campbell will holding a hearing to review the action. Barnaby had to be helped off the ice but returned for the final two periods of the first game between theraf

    team since an injured Jagr rallied the bankruptcy-ridden Penguins to a first-round playoff victory over the Devils in seven games. "It was pretty hurtful," said Barnaby, who bumped Brodeur near the goal line before being hit. "He hit me pretty hard, trying to take his revenge out. Maybe he was trying to change the game. He was a little frustrated with the goals that went in."

    Brodeur said there was no intent to injure.

    "If I really swing at all, he was so exposed I really could have hurt him," said Brodeur, who didn't believe he should be suspended.

    Stewart said he didn't even know who swung the stick that hit Barnaby right away.

    "I just saw the hack," he said. "You just go with your gut reaction. That was a bad whack right therin my estimation."

    Jiri Slegr, Robert Lang and Alexei Kovalev also scored for Pittsburgh.

    Brad Bombardir, Bobby Holik, Jason Arnott, Brian Rolston and Sergei Brylin scored for New Jersey in its home opener.

    The Penguins also played without their No. 1 goaltender. Tom Barrasso left early in the first period and was replaced by Peter Skudra, who made 18 saves.

    After Arnott and Rolston tied the game with second-period goals 1:09 apart with New Jersey playing with a two-man advantage, Jagr took over, much like he did in the playoffs after returning from a groin injury.

    Skating on a 2-on-3 break late in the second period, Jagr pulled up in the circle, used Devils defenseman Lyle Odelein as a screen and snapped a shot into the upper right corner of the net past a helpless Chris Terreri, who made 21 saves in relief of Brodeur.

    "There's not too many players in the league who can do that," Holik said of Jagr's goal. "He's on the fly, never stops and the puck just takes off his stick. You can't even blink and it's in the back of the net."

    Lang stretched the lead to 6-4 with a power-play goal just 1:47 later, putting the rebound of Rob Brown's shot that Jagr set up.

    Brylin scored on a power play with just under six minutes to play to get the Devils within a goal, but Kovalev scored on a giveaway in the final minute to clinch the game.

    After Bombardir gave the Devils the lead at 36 seconds, Morozov scored three times over the next 7:12, twice taking advantage when New Jersey defenders had trouble controlling pucks at their feet.

    After Holik and Slegr exchanged goals early in the second period, the Devils tied the game at 4-4 as Arnott and Rolston scored on two-man advantages in a 69-second span. The Penguins picked up four minor penalties in a span of 2:01.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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