-Hey, guess where we are:
-No, not quite:
-We have a few pregame photos on the way from some readers on location. Due to a late start (on account of us having to ride a dog sled to work on the snowy Parkway East), we'll get those posted later.
UPDATE: Kudos to readers Krikker and Dane Drutis for the pics tonight.
-The Penguins' starters are Chris Conner, Mike Rupp, Maxime Talbot, Alex Goligoski, Paul Martin and Brent Johnson.
-Their scratches are Sidney Crosby, Deryk Engelland and Evgeni Malkin.
-The Devils' starters are Ilya Kovalchuk, Nick Palmieri, Travis Zajac, Mark Fayne, Henrik Tallinder and Martin Brodeur.
-Their scratches are Matt Corrente, Adam Mair and Anssi Salmela.
-FSN Pittsburgh presents your lines and defensive pairings:
-Devils broadcaster and former goaltender Glen "Chico" Resch is hungry:
-A few Penguins fans are on hand:
-Bob Errey and Deryk Engelland:
-Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal:
18:38: Well that didn't take long. Patrik Elias gains the offensive zone on the left wing. He leaves a drop pass for Brian Rolston who hammers a one-timer from above the faceoff circle. The puck toasts Johnson under his blocker on the near side. That's a pretty bad goal for Johnson to let up. Elias and Andy Greene get assists. Devils 1-0.
15:32: Letestu snaps off a backhander from the left circle. Brodeur boots it away with ease.
13:09: Travis Zajac gains the offensive zone on the right wing and floats a wrister from the right circle. Johnson gloves it easily.
11:28: Letang makes a poor turnover in his own zone. Anton Volchenkov steals the puck at the right point and pumps a slapper on net. Johnson punches it away with his blocker.
10:09: Brutal. Paul Martin makes a brutal turnover behind his own net and the Devils strike. Martin moves the puck behind the net with pressure from Palmieri. He forces a drop pass but doesn't put enough on the pass for Michalek. Palmieri takes the puck, moves it to the front of the crease and backhands it through Johnson's five hole. Ouch. Just ouch. A veteran like Martin can't make that play. The goal is unassisted. Martin could make a case for one. Devils 2-0.
8:25: David Clarkson puts a long range shot on net from the left wing. Johnson knocks it away with a blocker.
7:48: A wrister by Alex Goligoski from the left point is deflected juuuust wide by Craig Adams.
6:59: After a turnover by Oprik in his own zone, Kovalchuk whips a wrister from the slot which is off the mark.
4:10: Mattias Tedenby and Vladmir Zharkov have a give
3:54: Off a give away by the Devils in their own zone, Martin snaps off a wrister from the left point. Despite traffic, Brodeur eats it up.
3:21: A wrister by Letang from the right point is fought off by Brodeur.
3:07: Things get a little worse for the Penguins as Kunitz is nabbed for hooking Palmieri at the Devils' blue line. Maxime Talbot, Craig Adams, Brooks Orpik and Zbynek Michalek.
2:44: Elias guns a one-timer from the right point wide on the side of the cage.
1:50: Elias snaps off a wrister from the top of the right circle. Letang blocks it. Jordan Staal backhands the rebound down ice.
1:17: Kovalchuk and Green collide at the Penguins' blue line. Talbot chips the puck up ice and creates a scoring chances. As Green tries to check him off the puck, Talbot fends off the pressure, spins and pushes a backhander on net. Brodeur fights it off. Talbot crashes into Brodeur backwards. Play is halted. Talbot is nabbed for goaltenders interference. Bob Errey criticizes the call but it seems like a fair call to us. Greene didn't trip or push Talbot into Brodeur. He just skated into Brodeur and knocked him over. The Devils will have nine seconds of a two-man advantage. Cooke, Staal and Orpik take the ice.
1:08: The Kunitz minor is killed. The Devils still have 1:51: of a one-man advantage.
1:01: Cooke steaks a pass in the right circle and backhand chips it down ice.
0:00: End of period. Devils 2, Penguins 0.
-That was kind of ugly. The Penguins looked like they forgot to wake up from their mid-day naps.
-Despite their record, the Devils are playing with a purpose. They had a lot more drive and direction than the Penguins.
-The Penguins offense was non existent that period.
-The Devils leads the game in shots, 9-6.
-Clarkson and Rolston each lead the game with two.
-Kovalchuk leads the game with 8:15 of ice time.
-Orpik is right behind him with 8:10.
-The Penguins have an 8-6 lead in faceoffs (57 percent).
-Talbot is 4 for 5 (80 percent).
-Elias is 3 for 4 (75 percent).
-No one has more than one blocked shots.
20:00: The Devils will have 45 seconds of power play time on fresh ice. Dupuis, Adams, Michalek and Orpik take the ice.
19:15: Talbot's minor expires.
18:07: Letang appears to trip up Tedenby near the right circle in the Penguins. Either that or Tedenby took a dive. Either way, no call.
17:47: Jason Arnott is denied in front by Johnson.
17:19: Letestu snaps off a wrister from the slot. Brodeur gloves it.
16:57: Goligoski grips and rips a wrister from the left point. Brodeur knocks it down and covers.
16:42: Dupuis whips a wrister from a bad angle on the leftwing. Brodeur holds it out. Rupp is there for the rebound but can't get a handle on it.
16:32: Talbot is called for interfering with Brodeur again. Talbot appears to say, "You got to be kidding me." Staal, Michalek, Oprik and Cooke take the ice.
15:40: A one-timer by Kovalchuk from the left half wall is fought off by Johnson.
13:20: Ben Lovejoy chops a slapper from the right point wide on the near side.
12:18: Coming back from commercial, Mike Rupp's Stanley Cup-clinching goal in 2003 against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim is replayed:
10:56: Lovejoy drives a shot form the right point. Despite traffic, Brodeur eats it up.
9:49: Another shot from Lovejoy. He gets in deep on the right wing and chops a loose puck on net. Brodeur steers it behind the cage.
6:36: After three stagnant minutes, Greene floats a wrister in on net from teh right wing. Johnson kicks itout but fumbles the rebound. David Clarkson and Rod Pelley are there for the rebound but can't get a clean handle on it.
6:09: Battling for a puck behind the Devils net, Zajack hooks the daylights out of Conner. No call.
4:39: Jeffrey backhand chips a pass from the right circle to the slot. Asham is trailing on the play and has a chance but he can't get a handle on the bouncing puck. Jeffrey nearly creates a scoring chance on the fort line. Why is he
3:12: More undisciplined play by the Penguins. Michalek cracks a one-timer from the left point. Brodeur fights it off but loses track of the rebound. Cooke falls to his knees and ends up cross checking Brodeur in the face. Amazingly, there's no call. How in the world is that not a call? Cooke couldn't have been more obvious about that cross check if he had put out a press release on it.
2:51: Palmieri drives a slapper from the right wing. Johnson makes the save.
2:23: Another shot by Lovejoy sails juuuuust wide of the cage.
0:16: Another penalty for Kunitz as he's is nabbed for hooking Tallinder in the right wing corner in the Devils' zone. Talbot, Staal, Michalek and Orpik take the ice.
0:00: End of period. Devils 2, Penguins 0.
-The Penguins played a pretty decent in the second after being pretty rotten in the first. They put pressure on Brodeur. They maintain possession in the offensive zone and grinded things out down low.
-The Devils look like the Devils once again however. Specifically, they look like Jacques Lemaire's Devils. They are committed to defense. They're cluttering up the shooting and passing lanes and really limiting the amount of quality scoring chances the Penguins have.
-Brodeur looks like Brodeur. He's calm, confident and and in total control.
-Discipline has been an issue for the Penguins again. They're already in a hole tonight offensively without Crosby and Malkin. They're making things worse by having to kill off multiple penalties.
-The Devils have a 17-13 lead in shots.
-Goligoski, Lovejoy, Letestu, Rupp, Greene, Rolston, Kovalchuk, Clarkson, Elias and Palmieri each lead the game with two.
-Kovalchuk leads the game with 15:49 of ice time.
-Orpik leads the Penguins with 15:28.
-The Penguins have a 17-15 edge in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Talbot is 10 for 11 (91 percent).
-Dainius Zubrus is 3 for 3 (100 percent).
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
-Krikker sends in some more jerseys. Jaromir Jagr:
-Speaking of Czech stars, here's a beautiful Elias Czech Republic jersey:
-Jersey of the Night: Former Penguins and Devils enforcer Krzysztof Oliwa:
20:00: The Devils will have 1:44 of power play time on fresh ice. Orpik, Michalek, Staal and Cooke take the ice.
19:37: Shorthanded, Cooke pushes the puck up the left wing and chops a slapper on net. Brodeur boots it out.
18:56: Kovalchuk drives a one-timer from the left half wall to the far side. Johnson slides to his left and traps it against his body.
18:16: Kunitz's minor is killed. The Devils did next to nothing during that two minutes.
17:03: Letestu is dropped with a nice check in the left circle by Tallinder.
15:55: Elias gets denied in tight by Johnson on a tough save.
14:39: Volchenkov drives a one-time from the right point. It hits someone up high and bounces around in the right circle. As there's a scrum for the puck. Arnott tires to settle it but gets high in the chest with a nice shoulder check by Arnott. As play moves back up ice, Arnott give Cooke some business for the hit. Cooke shoves him back. Arnott gets the stick up and Cooke falls to the ice. He sells the slash by Arnott very well and gets a penalty. This is pretty much do or die for the Penguins. Staal, Letestu, Letang, Goligoski and Kunitz take the ice.
13:41: Staal backhands a puck on net from the left circle. Brodeur gloves it and immediately whips it down ice with his stick. What a play by Brodeur.
12:39: The Arnott penalty is killed. The Penguins wasted that chance.
11:36: Here's an odd time for a fight. Talbot and Tim Sestito mix it up in front of the Devils' bench. Talbot lands an early right upper cup and loses his balance. He recovers and lands a few right jabs. Sestito gets his right arm free from his jersey and pops Talbot a few times as they fall to the ice. A fight midway through the third period of a tight game? Odd.
11:23: Tebendy taps a feed to the slot off the right wing. Zharkov is there and pushes the shot wide and crashes into Johnson.
9:42: Kunitz has a chance in the slot and guns a wrister wide on the near side.
9:15: Rupp is denied in tight by Brodeur.
7:42: Palmieri guns a slapper from the right wing. Johnson boots it out.
7:03: Letestu leaves a drop pass on the left wing. Goligoski steps up and guns a one-timer from the left point. Brodeur fights it off.
5:55: Jeffrey controls a puck on the boards behind the net and taps a backhander to Conner in front of the crease. Conner chops a shot on net. Brodeur fights it off.
4:17: Goligoski blasts a dump in from the neutral zone. It hits off the end boards and ricochets around the net. Asham moves in off the right wing and guns the bouncing puck on net from the faceoff circle. Brodeur is in perfect position and boots it out.
2:39: Conner pushes a puck up the right wing one-on-one against Colin White. He gets tripped up by an official and loses the puck.
0:58: The Penguins try to pull Johnson for an extra attacker but they can't even gain the offensive zone.
0:45: Johnson is finally pulled.
0:32: Kunitz taps a pass to Staal just under the right circle. Staal's shot if blocked.
0:00: End of game. Devils 2, Penguins 0.
-That was... well...:
-Boring. Really boring. That was vintage Jacques Lemaire hockey. The Devils jumped on a few early opportunities, established a lead and protected it the rest of the way.
-As it turns out, playing without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin can stunt your team's offense. Who would have guessed that? The Penguins just had nothing going offensively. The put more than a few shots on net but they barely tested Brodeur with any quality chances.
-Brodeur was tuned in also. He barely gave up a sniff of a poor rebound and limited the Penguins' second chance rebounds.
-With all due respect to Mark Letestu, we don't understand why he got an elevated role on the top line with Pascal Dupuis and Chris Chris Kunitz instead of Dustin Jeffrey. Jeffrey created a few things offensively with players like Aarron Asham and Chris Conner. Letestu, Kunitz and Dupuis did little in that regard.
-We're not saying Jeffrey would've made all the difference tonight, but his skill set is better suited for that type of role, especially with Crosby and Malkin out.
-The Jordan Staal-Matt Cooke-Tyler Kennedy line looked rather ordinary for the first time in a few games.
-The Penguins' discipline bit them a bit tonight. They took too many silly penalties and spent way too much time on the penalty kill. They were effective on the penalty kill, but that's a big block of time they aren't pushing thing offensively for the most part.
-Brent Johnson was okay. He played well enough to win. He made one mistake and was torched on a mistake by a teammate.
-The Penguins ended up with a 23-20 lead in shots.
-Goligoski, Kovalchuk, Elias and Palmieri led the game with three shots each.
-Letang led the game with 24:14 of ice time.
-Greene led the Devils with 22:29.
-The Penguins led in faceoffs, 27-22 (55 percent).
-Talbot was 13 for 16 (81 percent).
-Zubrus was 5 for 6 (83 percent).
-White, Tallinder and Volchenkov each led the game with three blocked shots.
-Michalek and Martin recorded the only blocked shots for the Penguins.