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Aftermath: Devils 4, Penguins 1

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins

New Jersey came into Mellon Arena and played typical Devil hockey, clogging up the neutral zone and taking the Penguins’ transition game out of the equation. Pittsburgh was able to get the better of the shots, outshooting New Jersey 33-26, but Martin Brodeur was able to limit rebound opportunities. 

After winning nine of their first 10 hockey games, the Penguins know what it takes to come back after a disappointing result. They continued to compete to up until the final buzzer, and such a resolve will allow them to regroup and come out with a spirited effort Wednesday night when they continue this homestand against the Montreal Canadiens at 7:30 p.m.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Nicklas Bergfors, Travis Zajac and Zach Parise each had a goal and an assist and the New Jersey Devils snapped the Pittsburgh Penguins' winning streak at seven with a 4-1 victory Saturday night.

Mark Fraser added his first career goal, and Martin Brodeur made 32 saves for the Devils, 5-0 on the road for the first time in team history.

Chris Kunitz crashes the net hard
(photo by Getty)
What Worked Well: Discipline
The Penguins once again generated more power-play opportunities for the third-straight game. While this didn’t pay off for the Penguins tonight, continuing to have more chances up by a man will pay dividends down the road for Pittsburgh, which possesses some of the best talent in the league on their power plays.

What Could Have Gone Better: Start of Third
No lead is ever safe for the visiting team when they face the high-powered Penguins’ attack, especially at Mellon Arena. Pittsburgh trailed, 2-0, entering the final period, but any thoughts of a comeback were eliminated when Travis Zajac scored 26 seconds in.
Alex Goligoski was flying for the Penguins, especially in the final 20 minutes. He scored the Penguins’ only goal of the evening when he slammed home the rebound of a Pascal Dupuis shot at 9:36 of the third period. That goal extended Goligoski’s point streak to a team-high five games (2G-3A).

Head coach Dan Bylsma talked following the game-day skate how he wanted to see Goligoski and Kris Letang shoot the puck more on the power play, and the second-year blueliner took his coaches advice. Goligoski had three of the Penguins’ five shots with the man-advantage.
New Jersey struck first with 9:50 to play in the first period when defenseman Mark Fraser, playing his first game of the season for an injured Mike Mottau, beat Marc-Andre Fleury from the slot. The Penguins’ netminder got a piece of the puck on the play, but it had just enough mustard to reach the back of the net. New Jersey 1, Pittsburgh 0.

It took three cracks on Fleury but the Devils’ persistence paid off when Nicklas Bergfors came from behind the Pittsburgh net and tapped a loose puck into the cage. Bergfors fired the initial shot on Fleury and Rod Pelley had a second chance before Bergfors took care of business. New Jersey 2, Pittsburgh 0.

Travis Zajac put the game out of reach 26 seconds into the third period as he followed the rebound of Zach Parise’s original shot and lifted the puck past a down-and-out Fleury into the back of the cage for his fifth goal of the season. New Jersey 3, Pittsburgh 0.

The Penguins got on the board 9:36 into the third period as Pascal Dupuis took a wrist shot from the right-point position he was covering that Martin Brodeur could not corral. Alex Goligoski was there to the right of Brodeur to score his third goal of the season on the rebound. New Jersey 3, Pittsburgh 1.

Zach Parise finished off the scoring when his backhander eluded Fleury late in the third period. Zajac and David Clarkson were credited with the assists on the play. New Jersey 4, Pittsburgh 1.
Head coach Dan Bylsma began this contest with the same defense combinations he ended the Florida game with on Friday. Kris Letang and Brooks Orpik started the game for the Penguins and were followed onto the ice by Martin Skoula paired with Mark Eaton and Jay McKee together with Alex Goligoski.

The Penguins continued having success in a couple categories they have been dominated through the early portion of the schedule. They outhit the Devils, 37-27, and had the better of the shots, 33-26. Pittsburgh had five skaters, Tyler Kennedy (6), Pascal Dupuis (5), Alex Goligoski (4), Chris Kunitz (4) and Jordan Staal (4), throw four or more pucks Martin Brodeur’s way. Mike Rupp (6) and Craig Adams (5) led the way in the hitting department. 

Another area the Penguins had success against the Devils was increating turnovers. Pittsburgh had all six turnovers in the game, led by two for Kris Letang. Pascal Dupuis, Staal, Kennedy and Sidney Crosby had the others.
> Scoring Summary:
NJD, M. Fraser (1), 9:50 1st period: Devils 1, Penguins 0
NJD, N. Bergfors PP (2), 14:51 2nd period: Devils 2, Penguins 0
NJD, T. Zajac (5), 0:26 3rd period: Devils 3, Penguins 0
PIT, A. Goligoski (3), 9:36 3rd period: Devils 3, Penguins 1
NJD, Z. Parise (6), 16:32 3rd period: Devils 4, Penguins 1

> The loss ends the Penguins’ winning steak at seven games. Coming into Saturday night’s action that was the longest active streak in the NHL.

> The Penguins are now 27-5-4 in the regular season since head coach Dan Bylsma took over. They have a record of 14-3-1 at Mellon Arena.

> Bylsma now has a record of 8-2-1 against Atlantic Division foes, 5-2 on home ice. He is 22-4-3 versus the Eastern Conference.

> Marc-Andre Fleury saw his personal-best win streak stopped at eight games. He continues to lead all goaltenders with eight win.

> Alex Goligoski extended his points streak to five games when he scored on the rebound of a Pascal Dupuis’ shot in the third period. During the stretch Goligoski has recorded five points (2G-3A).

> Goligoski’s goal gives him nine points on the season (3G-6A), most by any Penguins’ defenseman, and keeping him near the top of the defensive leaderboard.

> Forward Mike Rupp fired two shots on goal and led the Penguins with six hits in his first game against New Jersey since signing with the Penguins as an unrestricted free agent over the summer.
“It's one of those nights you don't ever want to happen... There's another game in a couple of days. We'll get back on the horse.”
- Bill Guerin


Author: Jason Seidling

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