It wasn’t a typical Pens-Devils matchup. You know that gap. No flow. All trapping. Sleep inducing hockey. New Jersey has opened up their play under new head coach John Hynes and it was obvious tonight. Although the score would indicate a tight game, there was actually a lot of flow and up-and-down action. Both teams traded high-quality scoring chances and showed a lot of life.
2. Goaltender’s Duel
With the game play being very open, the pressure was on the goaltenders to perform. And they put on a show. All-Star Cory Schneider did his part for the Devils. He was under siege at times and was able to hold off the Pens attack. Schneider made a few 10-bell saves, but the Pens found a way to beat him twice. And it was all the difference.
Marc-Andre Fleury was making split pad saves and stopping a lot of pucks through traffic. He was at his best in the final minutes, denying a flurry - pun - of Devils chances to preserve his second straight shut out against New Jersey. Fleury stopped all 25 shots sent his way.
3. Stars Shine
The Pens defeated the Devils and earned 2 huge points in the standings against a division foe because their star players played like their star players. The captain, Sidney Crosby, came up with a clutch goal on the power play in the first period – a period in which Pittsburgh was badly outplayed. Phil Kessel added the insurance on a nice finish after Carl Hagelin deked and set up a pass perfectly on his tape. Most importantly, Fleury made it stand with another sensational effort between the red medal.