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Aftermath: Devils 4, Penguins 3 OT

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
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The Penguins blew a 3-1 third-period lead in their eventual 4-3 overtime loss to New Jersey. While it may be disappointing that Pittsburgh didn’t get two points, the Penguins have to be happy that they at least earned one point after being outplayed for most of the game.

The Devils had the Penguins on their heels, particularly in the first and third period. New Jersey outshot Pittsburgh, 43-16 - nearly by a 3-to-1 margin. Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh defense held the fort as best they could until the damn burst late in the third.

Still, Pittsburgh is 3-1-1 in its past five games and is playing much better hockey than during its recent slump. They’ve grabbed seven of a possible 10 points in that span and will have to continue to get points at that clip to make the postseason.
(AP) - Jamie Langenbrunner tied it late in regulation and scored with a minute left in overtime as the New Jersey Devils extended their season-high winning streak to eight games with a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.

Bobby Holik and Brendan Shanahan also scored for New Jersey, and Travis Zajac had a great assist on the winner as the Devils rallied from a two-goal deficit to win.

Sidney Crosby, Maxime Talbot and Evgeni Malkin scored for Pittsburgh, which blew a two-goal lead in the final 8:01.

Evgeni Malkin celebrates his 100th career goal (photo by Getty)
What Worked: Getting a Point
Even though the Penguins came up 30 seconds short of stealing two in New Jersey, Pittsburgh should consider itself lucky to get one. The Penguins were outplayed for a majority of the game and were constantly under siege from the Devils’ offense. Even though it may feel like Pittsburgh lost one point in the game, in reality it stole one from the game.

What Didn't Work: Final Seconds of the Game
Pittsburgh was clinging to a one-goal in the final 40 seconds of the game. Pittsburgh won a crucial faceoff in its own zone. However, the Penguins couldn’t clear the puck. The Devils alertly cut off the clearing lanes and won the loose puck battle, resulting in the game-tying goal with 30.1 seconds left and stealing a point from Pittsburgh. 
Evgeni Malkin hit a milestone with his 100th career NHL goal. He notched a goal and an assist for a two-point game to up his league-leading point total to 73. He made a beautiful stick-handling move in the neutral zone to setup a score by Sidney Crosby. Malkin scored his big goal in the third period to hit the 100 mark. In his last 10 games, Malkin has collected five goals and eight assists for 13 points.
Rob Scuderi made a great play to help the Penguins get the game’s first goal. Pascal Dupuis took a shot on the Devils goal that was blocked. The puck was heading out of the New Jersey zone. Scuderi jumped onto the ice for a shift change and raced through the neutral zone to collect the puck at the blue line. He made a horizontal pass to Ryan Whitney. Whitney slapped a shot on net that Max Talbot re-directed into the goal. Pittsburgh 1, New Jersey 0.

The Penguins struck again 20 seconds later. Evgeni Malkin showed his obscene stick-handling talents to setup Pittsburgh’s second goal. He picked up the puck in the neutral zone with Brian Gionta pressing. Malkin curled the puck behind his body to avoid Gionta’s stick and then broke into the Devils zone. New Jersey defenseman John Oduya cheated towards Malkin when Sidney Crosby sneaked into the zone behind him. Malkin passed the puck to Crosby, who was one-on-one with Devils netminder Scott Clemmensen. Crosby roofed a backhand shot under the crossbar for his 19th tally of the season. Pittsburgh 2, New Jersey 0.

Bobby Holik got the Devils on the board with his third goal of the year. Brendan Shanahan played the puck behind the Pittsburgh net when he clipped Whitney in the face with his stick. While Whitney reached for his face Shanahan made a centering pass to Holik in front of the net. Holik deposited the puck through the five-hole of Marc-Andre Fleury. Pittsburgh 2, New Jersey 1.

Malkin setup Crosby’s first-period goal. So the Penguins captain returned the favor with an assist on Malkin’s 100th career NHL goal. Crosby picked off a dumping attempt along the boards in the Penguins zone. Zach Parise tried to throw a check into Crosby in the neutral zone. However, Crosby got his body low enough so that he was able to absorb the check and still keep his momentum moving forward. The check did slow his speed, so once Crosby got around Parise he chipped the puck ahead to Malkin, who was traveling at full speed. Malkin carried into the New Jersey zone and threw a wrist shot between the legs of Clemmensen and the puck trickled across the goal line. Pittsburgh 3, New Jersey 1.

New Jersey cut into the lead with a power-play score in the third period. Dainius Zubrus and Talbot were tied up following a faceoff. Brian Gionta swept the puck to Shanahan at the point. Shanahan blasted a slap shot by Fleury for the score. Pittsburgh 3, New Jersey 2.

The Devils tied the game with 30.1 seconds left in regulation. Bill Thomas won a faceoff in the Penguins zone but Pittsburgh couldn’t get the puck out. Jamie Langenbrunner got the puck behind the net and took a wraparound shot. The puck hit Fleury’s pad and then deflected off of Whitney’s skate and into the net. Pittsburgh 3, New Jersey 3.

Langenbrunner tied the game in the final minute and then gave New Jersey a victory with an overtime tally. Travis Zajac positioned his body as if he was going to shoot the puck in the near circle. The Penguins bit on it and collapsed to the net, creating a passing lane. Zajac used that lane to setup Langenbrunner for the winning one-timer. New Jersey 4, Pittsburgh 3.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik returned to the Penguins’ lineup. Pittsburgh has battled through injuries all season but is the healthiest that it has been all year. Only three players did not play due to injury: Sergei Gonchar, Ruslan Fedotenko and Mike Zigomanis.

The Penguins survived an early storm from New Jersey in the first period. The Devils outshot Pittsburgh, 19-7, but only converted one goal. New Jersey also had three power-play opportunities but the Penguins penalty killers were able to keep the puck out of the net.

Two players that I’d like to highlight from the game are forward Bill Thomas and defenseman Mark Eaton: Thomas is seeing a lot of action on the Penguins penalty killing unit. Thomas was phenomenal with his work, position and reaction. He made a couple of intelligent plays with the puck, including a great dump high off the glass in the third period with Pittsburgh nursing a one-goal lead. Thomas also won a critical faceoff in the final minute - even though New Jersey would score on the play. Eaton was all over the Devils who tried to get to the front of the Penguins’ cage. It seemed like every time he was on the ice, Eaton was blocking a shot or clearing a loose puck from the crease.
> Pittsburgh dropped to 24-21-5 on the year, with a 12-10-3 mark on the road. The Penguins are 3-1-1 in their last five games. 

> PIT, Max Talbot (6), 9:33 1st period: Penguins 1, Devils 0.
PIT, Crosby (19), 9:53 1st period: Penguins 2, Devils 0.
NJ, Holik (3), 11:21 1st period: Penguins 2, Devils 1.
PIT, Malkin (20), 8:35 3rd period: Penguins 3, Devils 1.
NJ, Shanahan PP (3), 11:59 3rd period: Penguins 3, Devils 2.
NJ, Langenbrunner (13), 19:29 3rd period: Penguins 3, Devils 3.
NJ, Langenbrunner (14), 4:00 OT period: Devils 4, Penguins 3.

> Evgeni Malkin tallied a goal and an assist against the Devils to extend his NHL lead in points to 73 (20G-53A). Malkin’s 53 assists are a league best. The goal was Malkin’s 100th career score. In his last 10 games, Malkin has collected five goals and eight assists for 13 points.

> Sidney Crosby scored a goal and added an assist against New Jersey. He is second in the league in scoring with 66 points (19G-47A) and his 47 assists are second most in the league behind teammate Malkin’s 53. Crosby has at least one point in eight of his last nine games, posting four goals and 12 assists for 16 points in that span.

> The Penguins have the top two scorers in the NHL in Malkin (20+53=73) and Crosby (19+47=66). The last time Pittsburgh had the top two scorers in the league was the 1995-96 season when Mario Lemieux (first) and Jaromir Jagr (second) topped the NHL. The team also had that distinction when Lemieux (first) and Kevin Stevens (second) did it in 1991-92.

> Marc-Andre Fleury made 39 saves against New Jersey. It was his 12th straight appearance in goal for the Penguins and fourth consecutive game of 30-plus saves.

> Max Talbot scored a goal against the Devils. He has a point in three of his last four games (1G-2A).

> Rob Scuderi posted an assist in the game. He has one goal and 10 assists for 11 points, tying a single-season career high.

> Ryan Whitney notched an assist in the contest. He has tallied one goal and five assists for six points in his last six games.

> Petr Sykora posted an assist against the Devils. He has five points (3G-2A) in his past four games.
1. J. Langenbrunner, NJ
2. Evgeni Malkin, PIT
3. Sidney Crosby, PIT
“It wasn’t for lack of effort on our part. We did some good things
but at the same time you have to finish those guys off.”
- Sidney Crosby


Author: Sam Kasan

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