The Prudential Center continues to haunt the Penguins.
Under head coach Dan Bylsma, the Penguins are now 2-10-1 in games played in New Jersey after losing, 2-1, to the Devils in a New Year's Eve afternoon matchup.
The game played out according to the usual script with these two teams in the Garden State. The Devils took an early lead, played a patient defensive game and had great goaltending.
"Went to script," head coach Dan Bylsma said. "They got an early goal, we had a turnover that they put in our net and got the lead. For the most part that was how the game went all night long. We couldn't get more than a goal. You're not going to win many against this team when you do that."
And, as usual, it seemed that no matter how much the Penguins generated, they just couldn't find the back of the net.
"I thought we had some more chances this time around, some really good chances," Sidney Crosby said. "It is kind of similar (to previous games). We just couldn't find anything on the net. A couple of those chances nine-out-of-ten times you put them in. It happens. They play tight and when you get those really good chances you have to make sure you put them in."
Adam Henrique and Michael Ryder scored the two goals for the Devils while Martin Brodeur was spectacular with 19 saves.
Matt Niskanen posted the Penguins lone goal, assisted by Crosby and Chris Kunitz.
Before the game Crosby spoke about the importance of the Penguins' power play possibly being a difference maker against the Devils. But to in order for the power play to be a difference maker, it needs to be involved.
The Penguins, who entered the game with the NHL's No. 1 ranked power play at 25.7 percent, had only one opportunity with the man-advantage. Late in the third period, the Penguins opportunity finally came with the team trailing 2-1 and 4:48 to play.
However, the Devils shut down Pittsburgh's man-advantage, thwarting a brilliant chance to pull the game even. The Penguins power play appeared a little out of sync, which is to be expected.
"We were due for one. When you go all night without one it can be a little frustrating," Brandon Sutter said. "Sometimes that's the way it goes. We got our chance and it was a little too late. We had our chance, but couldn't find a way to get it in."
The Devils conversely had four power-play opportunities. But they also came up with zero goals on the man-advantage. But those kills did wear on the Pens.
"Killing off the four penalties was tough on us," Bylsma said. "Each one of those moments are a point in the game where it could blow the game open. We kept in it, but we needed to find more There were only 20 shots out there for us."
Author: Sam Kasan