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Devils 2, Penguins 0 - 12-30-09

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Hey, guess where we are:

-Nope, not quite:

-We're beaming live from the living room of Castle Empty Netters. It's our final live blog of the decade.

-FSN PIttsburgh provides your line and defensive combinations:

-No idea why those are blurry.

-The Penguins' scratches are Jay McKee and Eric Godard.

-According to Dave Molinari at PG+, McKee is a healthy scratch.

-The Devils' scratches are Ilkka Pikkarainen, Bryce Salvador and Andrew Peters.

-Brent Johnson and Martin Brodeur are your starting goaltenders.

 FIRST PERIOD

19:28: Sidney Crosby dishes a pass to Mike Rupp flying into the zone. From the left faceoff circle, Rupp snaps off a wrister which is booted out by Brodeur's left leg.

18:36: Dean McAmmond gets set loose on the left wing, moves in and rips a rising wrister on net. Johnson snags it with his glove.

18:12: Well, geez that stinks. New Penguin killer Niclas Bergfors controls a puck along the wall deep on the right wing. He digs it out and snaps off a quick wrister that neaks by Johnson on the near side over his glove hand. Mark Eaton and the great Martin Skoula each screened Johnson on that shot. Johnson had no idea where that was. Travis Zajac and Andy Greene each get assists. Devils 1-0.

17:27: David Clarkson attemps a wraparound from the left of the cage. Johnson holds it out. During the stoppage, "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga is played:

-At a hockey game?

14:36: Matthew Corrente chops a slapper from the right point that goes wide.

12:06: Zajac gets denied in tight by Zajac.

11:54: Johnson denies another shot in tight by Zajac.

11:16: Jordan Staal lifts a wrister from a tough angle on the left wing. Brodeur nabs it. While discussing the Canadian Olympic roster:

10:59: Brodeur denies a few chances by Tyler Kennedy, Matt Cooke and Staal.

9:56: Paul Steigerwald drops a Valeri Zelepukin reference. Awesome.

8:57: Johnson fights off shot in tight by Mike Mottau with his blocker.

8:49: Johnson steers away a shot from the left wing by Brian Rolston.

8:30: Maxime Talbot is nabbed for hooking Dean McAmmson.  Staal, Cooke, Sergei Gonchar and Brooks Orpik take the ice.

8:13: Greene attempts a one-timer from the right faceoff circle but has his stick break. The puck goes in on net and Johnson makes the "save."

7:00: Staal lifts a wrister from the left wing. Brodeur fights it off.

6:30: Talbot's penalty is killed. The Penguins allowed very little to the Devils there.

5:18: The great Martin Skoula has a puck stolen behind the Penguins' net by Brian Rolston. Rolston gets denied in tight by Johnson.

5:05: Kennedy tries to jam one in low. Brodeur says no.

4:07: Cooke rushes up the right wing and attempts to chip a backhander on net. A Devils defender deflects it out of play with his stick.

2:50: McAmmond settles a bouncing puck and swats it on net. Johnson kicks it out.

2:38: Crosby has a shot in tight booted out by Brodeur.

1:25: Adams swats a loose puck on net from the right wing. Brodeur fights it off.

0:00: End of period. Devils 1, Penguins 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-The Penguins actually played a pretty solid period. They generated a couple quality scoring chances against a stingy defense and forces Martin Brodeur to make a few tough saves in tight.

-That said, the Devils really do limit what a team can do in the neutral zone. The Penguins looked like they were skating through mud in between the blue lines.

-Overall, while that period was quick, it was rather boring.

-You really do have to appreciate what Brent Johnson can offer as a puck handler. When Fleury goes back there, he's average at best. He even admits he's not a stellar puck handler. Johnson had a few instances that period where he was able to get it up ice and out of danger.

-Can we be the first to wonder if the Penguins have McKee in the lineup instead of the great Martin Skoula, the shot Bergfors scored on gets blocked?

-The Devils have a 12-9 lead in shots.

-Staal leads the game with four.

-McAmmond, Rolston, Bergfors and Zajac each have two for the Devils.

-Gonchar leads the game with 8:17 of ice time.

-Mike Mottau is right behind him with 8:14.

-The Devils have an 8-7 edge in faceoffs (53 percent).

-Crosby is 3 for 5 (60 percent).

-Zajac is 3 for 6 (50 percent).

-There's someone absolutely hilarious about Debbie Flaherty of Day Automotive hugging herself:

SECOND PERIOD

19:08: Chris Kunitz moves the puck deep up the right wing, pulls up and zips a cross ice pass to Letang trailing on the left wing. Letang takes the pass, grips and rips a wrister to the far side which is gloved by Brodeur.

18:26: Off a turnover by the Devils in their own zone, Malkin slides a pass down low to Guerin who gets denied in tight by Brodeur.

16:43: Talbot snaps off a wrister from the left wing far and wide.

16:16: Adams chips a wrister at the cage from the right wing. Brodeur boots it out of play.

15:09: Kennedy chops a slapper on net from above the right faceoff circle. Brodeur fights it off with his chest.

14:47: Malkin controls a puck on the left wing and distributes to Fedotenko in the slot.  Fedotenko lifts a wrister which Brodeur is able to trap and hold out despite having a few bodies crash in.

14:00ish: Kunitz knocks Clarkson down with a sold check in the neutral zone.

13:40: Parise snaps off a wrister from a tough angle along the goal line on the left wing. Johnson gloves it.

13:33: We get our first notable skrimish as Cooke goes offsides. Corrente gives Cooke a jab into the arm. Cooke responds with a shove. Officials break it up.

10:45: Rob Niedermayer takes the trains to games in Newark? Does he ride with bullet-proof vest?

8:17: Malkin flies up into the offensive zone, catches Mark Fraser and Mike Mottau flat footed and snaps off a low wrister which Brodeur kicks out and covers. Rupp takes a hack for a potential rebound. Brodeur and a few teammates take exception and give Rupp the business.

8:13: Off a faceoff wing, Crosby centers a pass to Malkin in the slot. Malkin swats a wrister on net. Brodeur is able to slide over and kick it out.

7:35: Crosby whiffs on a one-timer and that wakes up the morgue Prudential Center.

7:16: Zajac gets a chance in the slot and is stoned by Johnson. Parise follows up on the rebound and can't get it by Johnson.

6:56: Kunitz smacks a one-timer from the right point. Brodeur boots it out.

4:21: Rolston cuts into the offensive zone and uncorks a heavy slapper which Johnson fights off.

3:25: Off a steal, Langenbrunner enters the offensive zone and cranks a heavy slapper on net. Johnson eats it up.

2:56: Parise tosses a soft wrister on net. Johnson knocks it dead and covers.

1:00: Jay Pandolfo centers a puck from the right wing to Langenbrunner in the slot. Langenbrunner burns right by Fedotenko who looked gass. Langenbrunner gets denied in tight by Johnson on the mini breakaway.

0:00: End of period. Devils 1, Penguins 0.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-As topsy turvy and thrilling last night's game was, this one is the exact opposite. Just boring.

-And this is so typical of the Devils. They get an early lead and just choke the life out of the game. Sure Brodeur's had to make a couple tough saves but this is just brutal.

-We're not arguing against the Devils' effectiveness, it's just terrible to watch.

-Johnson has been forced to make a few big saves. He's a big reason this is still a one-goal game.

-Shots are actually tied, 23-23.

-Guerin leads the game with five.

-Rolston leads the Devils with four.

-Colin White leads the game with 15:36 of ice time.

-Gonchar leads the Penguins with 15:20.

-Faceoffs are tied, 16-16 (50 percent).

-Crosby is 8 for 11 (73 percent).

-Pelley is 3 for 5 (60 percent).

-White leads the game with three blocked shots.

-Skoula, Gonchar and Letang each lead the Penguins with two.

THIRD PERIOD

18:48: Fedotenko chops a slapper from the left wing on net. Brodeur makes the easy save.

17:45: Pandolfo snaps off a wrister from the left faceoff circle. Johnson fights it off with his shoulder.

16:43: Holy Moly a penalty. Cooke is nabbed for slashing.  Adams, Eaton, Talbot and Orpik take the ice.

15:48: Rob Niedermayer rips a wrister from the left faceoff circle that misses th mark.

15:10: Staal works the puck up ice to kill time. He enters the offensive zone and lifts a wrister wrister right into Brodeur's chest.

14:43: Cooke's penalty is killed.

14:26: Off a turnover by the great Martin Skoula in his own zone, Zajac picks up the puck and snaps off a wrister which Johnson fights off.

13:59: McAmmond swats a loose puck on net from the left wing. Johnson fights it off. The rebound comes to Greene at the point. He fires a slapper which is blocked by Malkin. Malkin's smarting after that shot.

13:23: Crosby chases down a potential iced puck in the Devils' zone. He gets down there first before Green and negates a faceoff in his team's zone.

13:00: Steigerwald mentions that David Clarkson is out for the rest of the game due to a "lower-body" injury.

12:18: The Penguins go back to the box. Kunitz slashed Greene's stick and one of his gloves off his body. Dumb penalty. Staal, Talbot, Orpik and Eaton take the ice.

11:21: The Devils run a version of the "Whitney Play." Bergfors controls the puck along the goal line on the left wing. He draws the defense towards him and zips a pass to Greene sneaking in from the left point. Greene kneels down and has the puck hop off his stick. Johnson makes the key save.

11:01: Crosby steaks the puck inside his blue line off a terrible pass by Oduya. He pushes it up the left wing one-on-one against Oduya, cuts towards the slot and lifts a backhander on net. Brodeur makes the save then swats it down ice with his stick to keep play moving.

10:50: Langenbrunner has a chance in tight but Crosby recovers and slides down to to block his shot.

10:47: Crosby gets the puck and whips it down ice but out of play. That's two minutes for delay of game. Crosby lifts his head in disgust of his mistake. The Devils will have a two-man advantage for 30 seconds. This is huge. Devils coach Jacques Lemaire calls a time out organize things.

-We think.

10:35: Gonchar blocks a slapper by Rolston from the left point. Gonchar is hobbling badly after that.

10:30: Gonchar blocks a pass and is hobbling even more.

10:18: Kunitz's penalty is killed. Five on four for 1:30.

10:01: Johnson boots out a slapper by Rolston.

9:56: Gonchar finally gets to the bench in a lot of discomfort.

9:03: Adams is able to chip the puck up ice to kill some time.

9:52: Kunitz rushes the puck up the left wing and roofs a wrister over the cage.

8:47: And Crosby's penalty is killed. What a huge effort by the Penguins.

8:32: Rod Pelley strikes a slapper from the right wing. Johnson gloves it.

7:32: Malkin spins and forces a puck into the slot from behidn the net. Kunitz is there and stabs at the puck but it carries off his stick wide of the cage.

7:04: As Bergfors chips a puck up on Johnson, who makes the save, Kunitz takes Parise into the boards hard behind the net. A small scrum ensues.

6:57: Parise chips a puck off the right wing on net. Johnson kicks it out.

6:28: Crosby coasts up the right wing. Dupuis and Kunitz crashe the crease. Crosby cuts towars the slot and rips a wrister which Brodeur fights off. Goligoski and Dupuis takes some stabs the rebound but can't put it past a sprawling Brodeur.

6:03: "Marrrr-Teeeeee! Marrrr-Teeeee!"

6:19: Parise moves up the right wing and rips a wrister that hits off the goal post.

4:48: Orpik goes to hit Niedermayer in the slot but takes a spill himself.

4:26: White pins Talbot against the boards and doesn't allow him to move. No call.

4:21: Malkin takes a tumble behidn the Devils net. It lookes like Pandolf might've gotten away with a trip.

1:35: Malkin and Guerin take a few stabs in tight but can't get it by Brodeur.

1:26: Wow. A penalty for the Devils. Zajaz is nabbed for holding Malkin. Dany Bylsma calls a time out to get organized. Jonson is pulled for an extra attacker. Crosby, Malkin, Gonchar, Kunitz, Guerin and Staal take the ice.

1:09: Greene blocks a slapper by Malkin from the left half half wall and clears down ice.

0:43: Gonchar cranks a slapper from the top of hte slot. Brodeur fight sit off.

0:33: Pandolfo chips a puck down ice

0:11: Langenbrunner moves the puck up ice, goes to the cage and chips it in for a :

-Niedermayer gets the only assist. Devils 2-0.

0:00: End of game.  Devils 2, Penguins 0.

POSTGAME

-Forget Mario Lemieux. Forget Ron Burkle. Martin Brodeur and the Devils own the Penguins right now. This rivalry has been very one-sided this season.

-The Devils are boring as all heck. But they're very, very good. It's an impressively dull thing right now.

-The crazy thing about the Devils is that they're playing like the vintage Lemaire teams that Scott Stevens and Scott Niedmermayer on the blue line. This team has very little in terms of elite talent on the blue line but it's still finding ways to shut teams down.

-That said, the Penguins did get plenty of shots on net. Brodeur just doesn't give up second-chance rebounds with Bylsma harps on.

-The Penguins' effort was not lacking. They matched the Devils' energy. They just couldn't figure out a way to beat the best goaltender in the game or his stiffling defense.

-Remember the "new" NHL?

-Brent Johnson was outstanding. If not for a bad screen by his own defensemen, this game goes to overtime 0-0.

-The Devils had a 33-32 lead in shots.

-Staal, Guerin and Rolston each led the game with five.

-Greene led the game with 26:16 of ice time.

-Gonchar led the Penguins with 23:54.

-The Devils had a 28-22 lead in faceoffs (56 percent).

-Zajac was 9 for 14 (64 percent).

-Crosby was 12 for 22 (55 percent).

-Gonchar, White and Green each led the game with three blocked shots.

-Brodeur is the last goaltender to get two shutouts in the same seaosn agaisnt the Penguins. In 2006-07, he blanked them 3-0, Dec. 26, and 1-0, Feb. 27. 

-Brodeur's shutout was the seventh of his career against the Penguins. Bernie Parent holds the record for most against the Penguins with 10.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights.

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