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Penguins vs. Devils Game Preview

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins

Overall:
46-25-8-100
Home: 24-14-2-50
Road: 22-11-6-50

WHEN: April 4, 2011 - 7:30 pm   |   WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
WATCH:
Versus  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
New Jersey Devils
Overall:
36-37-5-77
Home: 20-16-3-43
Road:
16-21-2-34

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New Jersey Devils 
 
      
Zach Parise
LW  -  #9
  3 Goals
  3 Assists
  6 Points
• Logged 16:05 of ice time and recorded two shots in his first game back on April 2 versus Montreal after missing the previous 65 contests with a torn right meniscus.

• Was the Devils’ leading scorer last year with 38 goals, 44 assists and 82 points, becoming the first player in Devils franchise history to record four-straight 30-goal campaigns and two back-to-back 80-point seasons.

• The Minneapolis, Minn. native scored the game-tying goal with 24 seconds left in the third period to force overtime in the USZ-Canada Gold Medal Game in the 2010 Winter Olympics.
 
Mattias Tedenby
RW  -  #21
  7 Goals
  13 Assists
  20 Points
• Matched a single-season rookie record (most recently set by Jordan Staal in 2006-07) when he was awarded his second penalty shot of the season April 2 versus Montreal.

• In his first season with the Devils after being drafted by the organization in the first round (No. 24 overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

• Earned a bronze medal while representing Sweden at the 2010 World Junior Championships along with teammate and fellow rookie Jacob Josefsen, where he tallied six points (3G-3A) in five games.
 
Andy Greene
D  -  #6
  4 goals
  18 assists
  22 points
• Scored the game-winning goal on March 30 versus New York Islanders – his first tally in nearly three months – to keep his team’s playoff hopes alive at the time.

• The undrafted blueliner, who signed a free-agent contract with New Jersey in 2006 after playing four seasons for Miami (Ohio) University, has thrown his body in front of a team-leading 154 shots.

• His 22 points leads all Devils blueliners, is one of four Devils to play in all 78 games this season and is third on the team with a total of 22:19 minutes per game.
Although the New Jersey Devils put forth a Herculean effort in the second half of the season in an attempt to make a 14th-straight postseason appearance, they were officially eliminated from the playoffs on April 2 with their 4-2 loss to Montreal.

The Devils entered the New Year with a 10-29-2 record, including a 2-16 skid from Dec. 2 to Jan. 8 that had them 27 points from a playoff berth at one point. But although they staged one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NHL history – going on an incredible 20-2-2 run from Jan. 9 to March 6, including an 11-1-1 record in the month of February, that pulled them to within six points of a postseason berth – the Devils just couldn’t keep up the torrid pace necessary to get them to the playoffs.

New Jersey has continued to play their trademark disciplined defensive style, ranking eighth in the league with a 2.49 goals-against average despite their first-half struggles and with 13 of their last 18 victories being decided by one goal.

But while they’ve been keeping pucks out of their own net, they’ve been struggling to put them in their opponents’ nets for the majority of the season. The Devils, who rank last in the league with an average of 2.05 goals-per game, have been shut out in three of their last nine games (including their March 25 tilt with the Penguins) and have gone 3-5-1 over that span.

They have, however, continued to get timely offensive production from Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk, who paces the squad with 29 goals, leads the entire NHL with four overtime tallies and ranks fourth (tied) in the league with nine game-winners. Kovalchuk went on a career-high 12-game point spree from Feb. 1-25 and has notched four points (2G-2A) in his last three games.

The Devils did receive some good news on Saturday when forward Zach Parise returned to the lineup after missing the previous 65 games with a torn right meniscus. Parise, voted team MVP in the prior two seasons, was their leading scorer in the 2009-10 campaign with 82 points (38G-44A) after a career year the season before with 94 points (45G-49A).
  • Pittsburgh currently holds a 100-99 point advantage over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the race for the No. 4 seed and home-ice advantage in a potential playoff series between the teams. Both teams will have three games remaining this season – with one at home and two on the road for each.
  • The Penguins enter Tuesday’s game trailing the Philadelphia Flyers by three points in the race for the Atlantic Division crown. Both teams have three games remaining. The Flyers’ April 8 visit to Buffalo is the only game for either club against a team currently positioned in the Eastern Conference’s top-eight.
  • This is the sixth and final meeting between the two teams. The Penguins hold the advantage thus far with a 3-1-1 record against New Jersey. Pittsburgh has won twice at home and once at the Prudential Center, while New Jersey won twice at home – with the latter win coming in overtime.
  • On March 25, the Penguins defeated the Devils, 1-0 in a shootout, at CONSOL Energy Center as Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury (21 saves) and New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur (26 saves) combined for the first dual shutout involving the Penguins since Sebastien Caron (34 saves) and Buffalo’s Martin Biron (23 saves) posted matching shutouts at Buffalo on January 21, 2003.
  • Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is having yet another strong finish to the regular season with a 6-4-1 record since March 2. During that stretch he has a 2.14 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.
  • Over the past three seasons the Penguins have gone 9-5-1 in March/April against Atlantic Division foes, with a 6-3 mark at home.
  • Pittsburgh’s 24 home wins are tied for second-most in the NHL.

 

      
Expect the Unexpected: For the first time since 1989, the Devils have four meaningless games remaining in their regular season. While head coach Jacques Lemaire is known for sticking to his game plan of playing solid defensively, he may be looking to try new things in order to see if the Devils can generate more offense in their last few contests before their offseason begins. New Jersey is also a proud team; they’ll be looking to do anything to win their last four games regardless of their significance (including trying to spoil home-ice advantage for a division rival), and the Penguins must be ready for that.

Feed Off The Crowd:
The Penguins are set to play their last home game of the season on Tuesday. The game will mark their 205th-consecutive sellout, and the Penguins will need to take full advantage of the seventh man cheering them on in a game that’s sure to be close down the wire.
F Sidney Crosby, concussion (IR)
F Dustin Jeffrey, knee (indefinitely)

F Nick Johnson, concussion (IR)
F Evgeni Malkin, torn ACL and torn MCL (will miss remainder of season)
F Eric Tangradi, concussion (IR)
D Matt Corrente, shoulder (indefinitely)
D Matt Taormina, ankle (indefinitely)
D Bryce Salvador, concussion (indefinitely)
D Anton Volchenkov, lower body (day-to-day)
D Colin White, leg (day-to-day)
 
 
 
 
G
Crosby (32) Kovalchuk (29)
A
Letang (41) Elias (39)
PTS
Crosby (66) Elias (58)
PIM
Cooke (129) Clarkson (116)
+/-
Crosby (+20) Fayne (+9)
PP
Crosby (10) Elias (7)
SH
Dupuis/Cooke (3)
Three tied with (1)
W/L
Fleury (34-20-5)
Hedberg (14-11-2)
GAA
Fleury (2.32) Hedberg (2.33)
SVP
Fleury (.918) Hedberg (.914)

Jordan Staal - Staal notched a trio of assists in the Penguins’ 4-2 win over Florida on April 2, tying his season-high single-game point output. His first helper allowed him to reach the century mark in that category in his career and has put him three points shy of reaching 200 points. The 22-year-old center, who now has 28 points (10G-18A) over his previous 35 contests, leads the team with four game-winning goals and ranks ninth among league forwards with an average of 21:18 minutes played per game.
 
Patrik Elias - Elias scored his first hat trick in five years and the eighth of his career to power New Jersey to a 4-2 win over Philadelphia on April 1, which kept the Devils’ playoff hopes alive at the time. He has netted a total of five points in his last three games and ranks first on the team with 39 helpers and 58 points. Elias is also tied for first on the team with Ilya Kovalchuk with 20 power-play points (7G-13A). The 34-year-old center, who has been with the Devils for his entire 13-season career and is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, has 59 points (22G-37A) in 69 career games against Pittsburgh.
 
 
 
 

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Penguins Report: 4/4/11 
Notebook: Century Mark 
Aftermath: Penguins 4, Panthers 2  

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WHEN: April 4, 2011 - 7:30 pm
WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
WATCH: Versus
LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM



SCOUTING REPORT

Although the New Jersey Devils put forth a Herculean effort in the second half of the season in an attempt to make a 14th-straight postseason appearance, they were officially eliminated from the playoffs on April 2 with their 4-2 loss to Montreal.

The Devils entered the New Year with a 10-29-2 record, including a 2-16 skid from Dec. 2 to Jan. 8 that had them 27 points from a playoff berth at one point. But although they staged one of the most remarkable turnarounds in NHL history – going on an incredible 20-2-2 run from Jan. 9 to March 6, including an 11-1-1 record in the month of February, that pulled them to within six points of a postseason berth – the Devils just couldn't keep up the torrid pace necessary to get them to the playoffs.

New Jersey has continued to play their trademark disciplined defensive style, ranking eighth in the league with a 2.49 goals-against average despite their first-half struggles and with 13 of their last 18 victories being decided by one goal.

But while they've been keeping pucks out of their own net, they've been struggling to put them in their opponents' nets for the majority of the season. The Devils, who rank last in the league with an average of 2.05 goals-per game, have been shut out in three of their last nine games (including their March 25 tilt with the Penguins) and have gone 3-5-1 over that span.

They have, however, continued to get timely offensive production from Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk, who paces the squad with 29 goals, leads the entire NHL with four overtime tallies and ranks fourth (tied) in the league with nine game-winners. Kovalchuk went on a career-high 12-game point spree from Feb. 1-25 and has notched four points (2G-2A) in his last three games.

The Devils did receive some good news on Saturday when forward Zach Parise returned to the lineup after missing the previous 65 games with a torn right meniscus. Parise, voted team MVP in the prior two seasons, was their leading scorer in the 2009-10 campaign with 82 points (38G-44A) after a career year the season before with 94 points (45G-49A).


INTERESTING STATS

* Pittsburgh currently holds a 100-99 point advantage over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the race for the No. 4 seed and home-ice advantage in a potential playoff series between the teams. Both teams will have three games remaining this season – with one at home and two on the road for each.

* The Penguins enter tonight's game trailing the Philadelphia Flyers by three points in the race for the Atlantic Division crown. Both teams have three games remaining. The Flyers' April 8 visit to Buffalo is the only game for either club against a team currently positioned in the Eastern Conference's top-eight.

* This is the sixth and final meeting between the two teams. The Penguins hold the advantage thus far with a 3-1-1 record against New Jersey. Pittsburgh has won twice at home and once at the Prudential Center, while New Jersey won twice at home – with the latter win coming in overtime.

* On March 25, the Penguins defeated the Devils, 1-0 in a shootout, at CONSOL Energy Center as Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury (21 saves) and New Jersey's Martin Brodeur (26 saves) combined for the first dual shutout involving the Penguins since Sebastien Caron (34 saves) and Buffalo's Martin Biron (23 saves) posted matching shutouts at Buffalo on January 21, 2003.

* Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is having yet another strong finish to the regular season with a 6-4-1 record since March 2. During that stretch he has a 2.14 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.

* Over the past three seasons the Penguins have gone 9-5-1 in March/April against Atlantic Division foes, with a 6-3 mark at home.

* Pittsburgh's 24 home wins are tied for second-most in the NHL.


KEYS TO THE GAME

Expect the Unexpected: For the first time since 1989, the Devils have four meaningless games remaining in their regular season. While head coach Jacques Lemaire is known for sticking to his game plan of playing solid defensively, he may be looking to try new things in order to see if the Devils can generate more offense in their last few contests before their offseason begins. New Jersey is also a proud team; they'll be looking to do anything to win their last four games regardless of their significance (including trying to spoil home-ice advantage for a division rival), and the Penguins must be ready for that.

Feed Off The Crowd: The Penguins are set to play their last home game of the season on Tuesday. The game will mark their 205th-consecutive sellout, and the Penguins will need to take full advantage of the seventh man cheering them on in a game that's sure to be close down the wire.


WHO'S HOT

Jordan Staal - Staal notched a trio of assists in the Penguins' 4-2 win over Florida on April 2, tying his season-high single-game point output. His first helper allowed him to reach the century mark in that category in his career and has put him three points shy of reaching 200 points. The 22-year-old center, who now has 28 points (10G-18A) over his previous 35 contests, leads the team with four game-winning goals and ranks ninth among league forwards with an average of 21:18 minutes played per game.

Patrik Elias - Elias scored his first hat trick in five years and the eighth of his career to power New Jersey to a 4-2 win over Philadelphia on April 1, which kept the Devils' playoff hopes alive at the time. He has netted a total of five points in his last three games and ranks first on the team with 39 helpers and 58 points. Elias is also tied for first on the team with Ilya Kovalchuk with 20 power-play points (7G-13A). The 34-year-old center, who has been with the Devils for his entire 13-season career and is the franchise's all-time leading scorer, has 59 points (22G-37A) in 69 career games against Pittsburgh.


Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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