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Penguins Jump All Over Brodeur, Devils

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AP
On a night when there were two shutouts in the other three games, the Pittsburgh Penguins wasted little time in making sure the top active goalie in that category didn't add to his total.

Jarkko Ruutu scored two goals Friday night and the Penguins won their fifth straight with a 5-4 win over the Devils and goalie Martin Brodeur, who has 10 shutouts this season and 90 overall to sit third on the career list.

The victory was set up when Ruutu, Rob Scuderi and Jordan Staal gave Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead in the first period. Sidney Crosby also scored for Pittsburgh, which pulled within five points of the Atlantic Division-leading Devils with a game in hand. The Penguins have picked up at least one point in 15 straight games, going 13-0-2.

The young Penguins know the division title is possible, if they can maintain the pace.

"We do play them three more times, so the possibility is there," Crosby said. "Right now, we're concentrating on getting points. It's not good for our mind-set to think about anything else."

In the only other NHL games Friday night, Manny Legace stopped 19 shots in St. Louis' 1-0 victory over Nashville, Fredrik Norrena had 29 saves in Columbus' 3-0 win over San Jose, and Vancouver beat Chicago 2-1 in a shootout.

"You could just see that the level of focus that we had tonight was just there, it was awesome," Norrena said. "You could especially see it in the box play, guys helping in front of the net and getting clears."

Legace had some luck in securing his 18th career shutout. Nashville got the puck past him three times only to hit metal each time.

The Predators' Paul Kariya narrowly missed his 18th goal when his backhand glanced off Legace and the crossbar before getting cleared in the third period.

"I put it where I wanted to," Kariya said. "He just got the tip of his glove on it."

Ruutu got things going for the Penguins when he deflected Josef Melichar's point shot past Brodeur 3:02 into the first period.

Scuderi, set up by Melichar, scored at 5:19 from the right point.

Staal got Pittsburgh's third goal of the opening period, jamming a shot from the slot past Brodeur with 2:06 remaining.

"We were hungry to start the game," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "We set the tone. When you get out to a lead like we did in the first period, you put yourself in good position to win the game."

The Devils, who had won 10 of their previous 14, had goals from Brian Rafalski, Patrik Elias, Zach Parise and Travis Zajac.

"They played outstanding," New Jersey's Scott Gomez said. "They're the real deal. As good a run as we've had, Pittsburgh has had an even better one."

Blue Jackets 3, Sharks 0

At Columbus, Ohio, Gilbert Brule, Fredrik Modin and Sergei Fedorov each had a goal and an assist and Norrena got his third shutout of the season.

The Sharks were shut out for the second game in a row, running their scoreless streak to 148 minutes, 30 seconds. The Blue Jackets had lost two in a row and five of their last six.

Columbus got its goals from unlikely sources as Brule picked up his first in 16 games, Modin got his fifth in his last 27 games and Fedorov ended an 11-game drought.

Blues 1, Predators 0

Bill Guerin scored late in the second period, Legace had his fifth shutout this season and host St. Louis ended a 14-game losing streak against Nashville.

It was the Predators' first game since acquiring center Peter Forsberg from Philadelphia the previous night. The former MVP did not play against the Blues and plans to make his Nashville debut on Saturday at home against the Minnesota Wild.

Guerin notched his team-leading 27th goal with 53 seconds left in the second period and both teams skating with four players.

Canucks 2, Blackhawks 1, SO

Trevor Linden and Brendan Morrison scored in the shootout, and Roberto Luongo made 34 saves, leading visiting Vancouveto its third straight win and into first place in the Northwest Division.

Chicago's Patrick Sharp opened the scoring early in the third and Matt Cooke tied it for Vancouver about 5 minutes later.

Blackhawks goalie Patrick Lalime stopped 28 shots in his second start and appearance after he missed the first half of the season following surgery to repair a herniated disc.