P.K. Subban and Travis Zajac also scored, and the Devils collected their second straight win at home following a losing streak of 11 games (0-10-1) in Newark.
Mackenzie Blackwood was expected to start in goal for New Jersey, but he was scratched after warmups. The team says the absence was not COVID-19 related.
Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust scored for Pittsburgh, and Tristan Jarry made 32 saves. Pittsburgh lost its second straight.
Subban got his third goal of the season with a blistering slap shot at 8:42 of the second period to give the Devils a 2-0 lead. The charismatic defenseman extended his point streak to three games. Hughes and Jesper Bratt assisted on the power-play tally.
Zajac pushed New Jersey’s lead to three goals 1:37 after Subban’s strike. Devils defenseman Damon Severson sent an innocent wrist shot from the point toward the net that Zajac redirected past Jarry. Zajac has collected seven points (one goal, six assists) in the previous six games.
Guentzel spoiled Wedgewood’s shutout bid in the final minute of the second period with a redirection in front on the man advantage. Prior to the power-play goal, the Devils successfully killed off 16 straight penalties over the past five games. Kris Letang and Kasperi Kapanen assisted on the play.
Pittsburgh outshot New Jersey 22 to 13 in the second period.
Hughes opened the scoring with a sharp-angled, top-shelf snipe at 10:02 of the first period. The 19-year-old notched his seventh goal of the season, matching his total from his rookie year. Ty Smith and Kyle Palmieri assisted on the play.
Rust pulled the Penguins within one at 19:55 of the third period.
Penguins alternate captain Evgeni Malkin did not make the trip to New Jersey after sustaining an injury late in the first period against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.
Devils rookies have combined for 49 points this season, most in the NHL. Six different players (Ty Smith, Janne Kuokkanen, Yegor Sharangovich, Nathan Bastian, Mikhail Maltsev and Nicholas Merkley) have contributed to that total.
Pittsburgh faced former assistant coach Mark Recchi for the first time since his offseason departure for New Jersey. Recchi spent the previous six seasons with the Penguins organization, and the franchise won two Stanley Cups during that stretch.
Casey DeSmith and Jarry have combined to allow 14 goals over Pittsburgh’s last eight games, which included a six-game winning streak that ended Tuesday after the Penguins lost to the Boston Bruins, 2-1.
The Penguins and Devils are back at the Prudential Center on Saturday for the second of three straight games against each other.
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