Pittsburgh plays very well against the Devils in the second of back-to-back games but the Devils hold on for a 3-1 victory. New Jersey has now won all five contests against the Penguins this season. Pittsburgh still holds an 85-83 points advantage over the Devils in the race for the Atlantic Division crown, although the Devils have two games in hand. The Penguins will be back in action on Sunday when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning at 5 p.m.
Fleury is off for a sixth attacker.
Fleury keeps the Penguins' chances alive by diving to the ice and stacking the pads to deny a chance by Langenbrunner on a two-on-one.
Pittsburgh is 0-for-5 on the power play as the Devils kill the Mottau penalty.
Brodeur keeps his paddle along the ice to deny a power move to the net by Ponikarovsky.
Pittsburgh will get a chance to put a dent into the Devils lead as Mike Mottau will head to the penalty box after high-sticking Fedotenko just outside Brodeur's crease.
I don't know what the Penguins are going to have to do to score on Brodeur this season. He just made an excellent glove save on Fedotenko's shot off the rush when it looked like Brodeur might be out of position and Fedotenko had a good look to get the Penguins back in the game.
FSN replays show that Zajac hit the glove of Fleury just as he was about to catch Kovalchuk's shot. No penalty is called on the play and the goal is allowed to hold up. Naturally, the Penguins were pretty incensed, as well they should have been.
New Jersey moves the puck from the near corner to Kovalchuk at the center point. The Devils sniper sends a quick turnaround snap shot towards the net and the puck gets under the glove of Fleury for the goal. Devils 3, Penguins 1.
Brodeur was alert to make a pad save on Talbot, who got a quick shot on goal off a good bounce off the corner boards.
Pittsburgh doesn't score on the man-advantage but they do generate a couple good chances with their second unit and appear to have gained a little momentum as they try to tie this game.
Now that was pretty funny. Kunitz and Langenbrunner tangled all the way onto the Penguins bench. Langenbrunner picks up the extra two minutes on the play and the Penguins head back onto the power play. A goal here would be huge. The Penguins power play has been red hot the past seven games so let's see if they can do it again.
Huge save by Brodeur on a backhander by Malkin, who had a step on the New Jersey defense following a pass from Kunitz.
Fleury makes the first save on a drive by Kovalchuk but the rebound bounces all the way to Andy Greene at the right point and he hammers a shot over the glove of Fleury to give the Devils the lead. Devils 2, Penguins 1.
Again it's the Malkin unit making things happen in the offensive zone but Brodeur shuts that opportunity down.
Cooke and Niedermayer drop the gloves three seconds into the final period. I think it took Cooke less than three seconds I believe to quickly drop Niedermayer to the ice. The two tangled as the buzzer sounded at the end of the second period.
The Penguins look to break this scoreless tie and register their first win of the season agains the Devils.
SECOND PERIOD NOTES:
- Brooks Orpik
paces the Penguins with three blocked shots.
- Jordan Staal
has seen 4:42 minutes shorthanded as the Penguins have killed off four New Jersey power plays, including a five-minute major assessed to Craig Adams
- Sidney Crosby
(7-5) and Evgeni Malkin
(4-3) have each won more faceoffs than they have lost.
Cooke and Niedermayer come together at the final buzzer. Nothing looks like it will come from that. Same score, 1-1, following 40 minutes of play. New Jersey holds a 26-20 advantage in shots.
Brodeur makes his second save in six seconds on Kunitz by making a glove save on his chance in the slot off of another slick setup by Crosby.
Kovalchuk tries going to the five-hole but Fleury stays tall and makes another save with his left pad on the Devils sniper.
Fleury denies Kovalchuk with a left-pad save but Kovalchuk will get a chance on a penalty shot as Letan upended him as he was shooting.
Thanks to some great killing by Team USA hero Zach Parise the Devils kill off the penalty.
The Devils have had a pretty good run of success during the Martin Brodeur-Lou Lamoriello era.
It looks like Fedotenko and Colin White will receive minor penalties after Fedotenko rushed into a scrum in defense of Malkin, who was mixing it up with Rob Niedermayer. Malkin and Niedermayer also take penalties, with Niedermayer getting an extra two.
Head coach Dan Bylsma is using his timeout as the Malkin line along with Gonchar and Eaton were trapped on the ice for an extended shift. Pittsburgh iced the puck after moving it out of their own zone, necessitating the break.
The Penguins kill off another penalty as Rupp is back. Pittsburgh is doing a great job on these penalty kills preventing quality looks.
A little rough housing after the whistle against between Letang and Dainius Zubrus. Both players receive coincidental minors for roughing.
New Jersey takes exception to former Devil Mike Rupp taking an extra whack at the glove of Brodeur as he makes a save. Rupp is given a slashing penalty on the play. The Penguins will need another huge effort out of their penalty kill.
I'm telling you the Malkin line WILL score tonight. Fedotenko just missed sneaking a shot behind Brodeur from the near circle.
These are the types of luxary suites fans can look forward to next season at Consol Energy Center.
The Penguins actually had to kill off an extra 19 seconds because they didn't have somebody serve the major for Adams, so they had to wait until the next whistle to throw five guys on the ice again.
The Penguins kill off the major penalty to Adams and the crowd is not happy with New Jersey's power play.
Kovalchuk just gets good wood on a one-timer from the left point but Fleury calmly steers that aside with his stick.
What is New Jersey doing on their power play? Crosby almost had a breakaway as the defense was nowhere to be found for the Devils. Not sure if the Devils even have a shot yet as under two minutes remain on the major.
Cooke actually gets the first shot of the major penalty shorthanded on Brodeur. The Devils netminder kicks that chance away.
Wow we have quite a situation here. Adams was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct after hitting Skoula right as the whistle is blown on an icing call. In my opinion, a VERY weak call. Only worth two minutes.
Thanks to more great penalty killing from guys like Cooke and Craig Adams
, the Penguins kill off yet another opposition man-advantage.
18:23: Kris Letang
is in the penalty box for holding.
Both teams are back to five skaters aside after Langenbrunner re-joins the action.
The Penguins have an abreviated power play.
We have four-on-four action to begin the second period.SECOND PERIOD
FIRST PERIOD NOTES:
- Bill Guerin led the Penguins with four shots.
- Brooks Orpik
had two of the Penguins eight hits.
- Alex Goligoski led the Penguins in ice time with 7:22 minutes.
The Penguins and Devils are all square, 1-1, after 20 minutes of play. Pittsburgh is outshooting the Devils, 13-8.
You live by the sword, you die by the sword. New Jersey uses five forwards at the point and it costs them their powerplay. Jamie Langenbrunner has to take an interference penalty after Matt Cooke
steals the puck away at the Penguins blue line.
Fedotenko is sent to the box for tripping.
It looks like Malkin-Fedotenko-Ponikarovsky have picked up right where they left off in the third period against the Hurricanes last night. Ponikarovsky was just stopped by the glove of Brodeur on another good look for that line.
As good as Brodeur is at stopping pucks, and he might be the best of all-time, it is actually kind of fun to watch him play the puck as almost a third defenseman. You forget how good he really is at that - the game against Team USA in the Olympics notwithstanding.
It's been a great pace to this first period as both teams have gotten good looks in a back-and-forth game. This is as well as the Penguins have moved the puck against New Jersey this season.
Ponikarovsky rips a shot off the goal post to the left of Brodeur off a rush into the Devils zone.
The Devils created a lot of havoc in the crease of Fleury. The netminder had to sprawl a few times and Greene sent a shot off the post on one chance. Pittsburgh though escaped unscathed. 12:55:
Ilya Kovalchuk snaps a hard shot on net, but Fleury is there to snatch it in his trapper. 17:35:
The Penguins even the game on Sidney Crosby
's NHL-leading 45th goal of the season. The Devils turned the puck over at the Penguins blue line. The Penguins went the other way with a two-on-one rush with Crosby and Chris Kunitz
. Crosby held the puck and then snapped a shot through Martin Brodeur's five-hole. Penguins 1, Devils 1. 18:17
: The Devils draw first blood in the contest on a goal by Patrik Elias. Andy Greene threw a shot on goal from above the near circle. The puck missed the neck, hit the backboards and slid into the crease area. Fleury did his best to avoid the puck, but it traveled right to Elias, who had an empty net to shoot into since Fleury was trying to not have the puck bounce off him and into the net. Devils 1, Penguins 0.18:28:
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury
makes his first save of the game, consuming a shot from the far point by former Penguin Martin Skoula. 20:00:
The Penguins open the game with Bill Guerin skating with Jordan Staal
and Matt Cooke
. FIRST PERIOD 7:04 PM:
Both teams are taking the ice in a showdown for the Atlantic Division. Right now the Penguins have the advantage of a four-point lead in the standings. Pittsburgh could really start to distance itself with a victory tonight, or New Jersey could make this a tight race. Oh the drama. 7:03 PM:
The scratches are in for the game. Scratched for the Penguins are forwards Eric Godard and Tyler Kennedy
and defenseman Jay McKee. The Devils scratched Mark Fraser, Paul Martin
, Vladimir Zharkov, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond and Andrew Peters. 7:00 PM:
The Penguins look to run their unbeaten streak to 10 games (5-0-4) when they take on the New Jersey Devils in a key Atlantic Division matchup. Pittsburgh enters the contest with a four-point lead (85-81) on New Jersey, but the Devils have two games in hand. These two teams will meet twice in the next six days as they conclude the season series. Both games will be at the Prudential Center.PREGAME:
Head coach Dan Bylsma met with the medai at 5 p.m. before the game since there was no morning skate. Here is what the coach had to say:On Tyler Kennedy playing tonight:
It will be game time. There is a possibility that he will be in tonight. First of all, it’s not just a case of him doing something wrong per se. We have a good group of forwards and we have a lot of players playing well, especially if you talk about the way Mike Rupp has played and Craig Adams
has played, Max Talbot with the energy that he’s brought to our lineup coming back from his break. They brought a lot to the table. It’s not an easy decision to say that this guy should not be in the lineup. (Kennedy) will get back in there and he’s a really good player that’s done a lot of good things and adds a lot to our lineup. It’s not a situation where he’s not going to get back in there any time soon. On Evgeni Malkin having an off year:
Sometimes statistics can be deceiving on how a player is playing. I think since the break, he’s come out with a rejuvenated effort in terms of playing on both sides of the puck and playing away from the puck. He’s outstanding and dynamic with the puck. But sometimes he wants to go get it, have it at all times and keep it at all times. He’s done a real good job of playing defensively, playing away from the puck. He’s done a good job of managing the puck in the offensive zone and allowing his other linemates be a part of the offensive zone. That’s something at times that hasn’t been there throughout the year. His last six games have probably been his best away from the puck and managing the puck all year long. Those are things that he’s been working on and knows he needs to work on. When he’s playing that way, he’s very effective on both sides of the puck.On if Alexei Ponikarovsky will help Malkin’s play:
Alexei adds a lot to that line as far as his size, his ability to play in the offensive zone and going to the net. In terms of Geno’s play, it’s been Geno making a conscious effort to play away from the puck and manage the puck a little more effectively. That line is a little more defensive conscious with Alex on that line. He’s an outstanding player away from the puck. One thing I noticed about him, watching him before we acquired him is that he’s always on the defensive side of the puck and working to get back. That adds another element to that line that wasn’t there before. It’s nice to have consistency on both sides of the puck throughout our lineup. On if he’s talked to Malkin about his play:
That’s what coaches do I think. Not just one. It’s something we’ve constantly worked on. He’s a smart player. When he’s focused on both sides of the puck, he’s very good on both sides of the puck.
Author: Jason Seidling