The Penguins and Devils hooked up for a defensive grudge match not seen around these parts in ages. Neither team, nor goaltender, were willing to break in a game that featured zero goals combined.
In the end, it was the Penguins who triumphed in the shootout. James Neal provided the tally that gave Pittsburgh the ‘W’ and a big two points in the NHL standings.
Marc-Andre Fleury and Martin Brodeur dueled it out shot for shot. At the end of 65 minutes, neither netminder was scored on. Fleury stopped 21 shots while Brodeur recorded 26 saves as each recorded a shutout.
The win gives the Penguins 96 points on the season, two behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the Atlantic Division/Eastern Conference lead. The Penguins have won three straight games (all in shootouts) and have triumphed in five of their past six contests.
The star for the Penguins was a strong collective defensive effort against the Devils.
Pittsburgh held the Devils to only one first-period shot, and 21 total in the entire 65 minutes. The one shot allowed in the opening frame nearly set a franchise record.
The Penguins kept most of the shots to the perimeter and didn’t allow the Devils to get any second-chance opportunities. And goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made all 21 saves to record his third shutout of the season.
The game was a dead heat at 0-0 with less than five minutes remaining in the third period. Ben Lovejoy was called for a holding penalty, giving New Jersey a power play as the game neared its end.
But the Penguins PK unit came up with the biggest kill of the game. The PK squad blocked shots, got their sticks in passing lanes and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was solid on the pucks that did get through.
The successful kill allowed the team to get the game to a shootout and eventual win the contest.
(AP) - James Neal scored in the third round of a shootout and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New Jersey Devils 1-0 on Friday night in a game dominated by goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Martin Brodeur.
Fleury made 21 saves for his third shutout of the season and 19th of his career. He also stopped Brian Rolston, Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias in the shootout.
The Penguins, on the verge of clinching a playoff spot, moved within two points of idle Philadelphia in the race for both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference leads.
- Forward Mike Comrie made his return to the lineup for the Penguins. His last game played was Nov. 24 at Buffalo. Comrie played 8:07 minutes of ice time, including two minutes of the power play.
- The Penguins held the New Jersey Devils to one shot in the entire first 20 minutes of the game. That one shot – by Brian Rolston – was nearly the lowest in team history. Pittsburgh held Florida shotless twice (Feb. 21, 2001 at Pittsburgh and Dec. 20, 2000 at Florida).
- The Penguins fired only three shots in the first period, meaning both teams combined for four in the opening frame. That set a franchise record for fewest shots in a period (previously 5, occurring twice: Nov. 19, 1969 vs. STL – Pitt, 2, Stl, 3; and Dec. 12, 1997 at PHX – Pitt, 4, PHX, 1).
- The Penguins played their third straight shootout game, and have been victorious in all three. Pittsburgh defeated Detroit, 5-4, March 21 at Joe Louis Arena and Philadelphia, 2-1, March 24 at Well Fargo Center. James Neal scored the deciding goals in Detroit and against the Devils. Chris Kunitz was the hero at Philadelphia.
#1. Marc-Andre Fleury
Goaltender - 29
0 goals allowed
3rd SO of season
#2. Martin Brodeur
Goaltender - 30
0 goals allowed
5th SO of season
#3. James Neal
Forward - 18
1 shootout goal
Author: Sam Kasan