| Photos: Devils 5, Penguins 2
|The Penguins opened the game strong with heavy pressure and an early 1-0 lead. However, a turnover at the blue line resulted in a New Jersey goal that not only tied the game, but killed all of Pittsburgh’s momentum. After that point the Devils took advantage of the Penguins’ mistakes, capitalized on those mistakes and ran away with a win to pull dead even in the Atlantic Division race. |
|WHAT HAPPENED |
|NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Patrik Elias scored a breakaway goal and set up another for the New Jersey Devils, who beat the sloppy Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 on Wednesday night and completed a six-game season sweep of their Atlantic Division rivals. |
|SHOT OF THE NIGHT |
Mike Rupp levels New Jersey's Paul Martin
(photo by Getty)
|What Went Well: Strong Start |
The Penguins could not have asked for a better start to the game. In the game's opening minutes Pittsburgh established zone time, pressured the Devils and generated lots of chances. The Penguins even were rewarded with an early 1-0 lead.
What Could Have Gone Better: Puck Protection
The Penguins committed an uncharacteristically high number of turnovers. Unfortunately for the team, the Devils were able to capitalize on a few. Four of New Jersey’s five goals came as a result of Pittsburgh turnovers. The Penguins didn’t protect the puck as well as they normally do, and the Devils made them pay.
|Chris Kunitz was skating and buzzing around the New Jersey goal all night long. He seemed to play with a purpose, and had a spark to his game. He was rewarded for his effort with his 11th goal of the year. He finished the contest with a game-high (tied) four shot. |
|SCORING SYNOPSIS |
|The Penguins struck first at the 4:01 mark of the first period. Bill Guerin carried the puck down the far side and threw the puck towards the net. Goaltender Martin Brodeur kicked out the puck into the slot right to Chris Kunitz. Kunitz snapped a low shot that eluded Brodeur stick side. Pittsburgh 1, New Jersey 0. |
New Jersey tied the game halfway through the first period off a Pittsburgh turnover. Dainius Zubrus stole the puck just outside the Penguins blue line and took off for a breakaway. Zubrus deked backhand before shooting a forehand shot into the goal behind Marc-Andre Fleury. Pittsburgh 1, New Jersey 1.
The Devils gained the lead with just under two minutes left in the opening period. Paul Martin, who returned to the lineup for the first time since breaking his forearm in October, stole a blind pass in the neutral zone and skated down the near side. Martin snapped a quick shot far side into the goal. New Jersey 2, Pittsburgh 1.
New Jersey added to its lead with a shorthanded tally 3:09 into the second period. Patrik Elias stole a Penguins’ pass inside the Devils’ blue line and shot up ice on a breakaway. He made no mistake in throwing a shot between Feury's legs. New Jersey 3, Pittsburgh 1.
The Devils stretched their lead to three goals at the midpoint of the second frame. New Jersey picked up another Pittsburgh turnover at its blue line and skated the other way with a four-on-two chance. Travis Zajac sent a shot on net, and Zach Parise slammed home the rebound. New Jersey 4, Pittsburgh 1.
Pittsburgh cut into the lead early in the third period. Ruslan Fedotenko took a shot from the far circle that traveled through a screen and between the legs of Brodeur. Assists to Kunitz and Mike Rupp for providing traffic in front of Brodeur. New Jersey 4, Pittsburgh 2.
Rob Niedermayer added an empty-net goal to seal the victory. New Jersey 5, Pittsburgh 2.
|INTRIGUING NOTABLES |
|The Penguins were without defending NHL scoring champion Evgeni Malkin, who missed his first game with a lower body injury. He suffered the injury in the Penguins’ last game when he was hit with a shot. Jay McKee and Eric Godard were also scratched for Pittsburgh. |
|GAME NOTES |
|> Pittsburgh dropped to 41-24-5 on the season with a 20-14-2 mark on the road. Pittsburgh and New Jersey are now tied at 87 points each for the lead in the Atlantic Division, with the Devils playing one less game. |
> The Devils finished 6-0 against Pittsburgh on the season, pulling off their first season sweep of the Penguins in franchise history.
> Scoring Summary:
PIT, C.Kunitz (11), 4:01 1st period: Penguins 1, Devils 0
NJ, D.Zubrus (7), 10:51 1st period: Penguins 1, Devils 1
NJ, P.Martin (1), 18:18 1st period: Devils 2, Penguins 1
NJ, P.Elias SH (13), 3:09 2nd period: Devils 3, Penguins 1
NJ, Z.Parise (33), 10:17 2nd period: Devils 4, Penguins 1
PIT, R.Fedotenko (10), 5:23 3rd period: Devils 4, Penguins 2
NJ, R.Niedermayer (10), 18:47 3rd period: Devils 5, Penguins 2
> Sidney Crosby had his season-long nine-game point streak come to an end but not before the Penguins captain racked up 13 points (4G-9A).
> Chris Kunitz scored his 11th goal of the season. He has seven points (3G-4A) in his last seven games.
> Ruslan Fedotenko posted his 10th goal of the year, and second since the Olympic break.
> Alex Goligoski picked up an assist. He has points in five of his last seven games.
|THREE STARS ||QUOTE OF THE NIGHT |
| || |
|1. P.Elias |
|“We did some really good things but had some |
- Sidney Crosby