EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Jarkko Ruutu scored two goals Friday night to lead the surging Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-4 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Rob Scuderi, Jordan Staal and 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 won five in a row. More impressively, they have picked up at least one point in 15 straight games, going 13-2 in that span.
Brian Rafalski, Patrik Elias, Zach Parise and Travis Zajac scored for the Devils, who had won 10 of their previous 14.
The Penguins drained the drama from the showdown by jumping out a 3-0 lead in the first period on goals by Ruutu, Scuderi and Staal.
BLUE JACKETS 3, SHARKS 0
In Columbus, Gilbert Brule, Fredrik Modin and Sergei Fedorov each had a goal and an assist and Fredrik Norrena stopped 29 shots.
The Sharks' offensive woes continued as they were shut out for the second game in a row, running their scoreless streak to 148 minutes, 30 seconds.
All three Columbus goal-scorers have had difficulty finding the net over the past few weeks. Brule picked up his first goal in 16 games, Modin notched just his fifth in his last 27 games and Fedorov scored after not having a goal in his last 11 games.
The Blue Jackets had lost two in a row and five of the last six.
It was Norrena's third shutout of the season.
The Blue Jackets, 17-2-4 when scoring first this season, led 1-0 through two periods. Modin slid a drop pass between his skates to Brule, who fed him as he came in along the back boards. Modin tried a wraparound, but was stopped by goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. Modin got at least two more whacks at it and the puck eventually glanced off Nabokov's chest and into the net at the 4:56 mark of the second.
It was Modin's 14th goal of the year.
Columbus improved to 17-1-3 with a lead through two periods, while San Jose fell to 2-16-0 when trailing heading into the third.
SHARKS: San Jose reacquired forward Alex Korolyuk, trading a conditional third-round pick to the New Jersey Devils for a veteran forward with plenty of experience in their system.
Korolyuk had 62 goals and 80 assists over parts of six seasons with the Sharks. He played his best hockey under current San Jose coach Ron Wilson, scoring 37 points while helping the Sharks to the Western Conference finals in 2003-04.
"He's a guy that has certainly given us a spark in the past," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. "We know he's always kept himself in great shape. I asked him if he wants to come back and compete for a Stanley Cup, and he said, 'Definitely.' "