-Greetings from a chilly, slightly snowy Pittsburgh. It's cloudy, windy and in the teens. A less than ideal day for anything but hockey.
-The Zach Boychuk era begins today. Boychuk will get a shot on the left with with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. In his limited NHL success, most of his goal have come from below the faceoff dots. Despite not having a ton of size, he appears willing to go to the high traffic areas. We're certainly not expected the second coming of Chris Kunitz, but Boychuk is a worthwhile experiment.
-Chris Kunitz will be a game-time decision based on an illness.
-The Devils will be using a defenseman, Peter Harrold, on their fourth line today. We'd expect the Devils to primarily only use three lines today.
-The Devils have apparetly switched up their top two lines for today's game. Their lines and defensive pairings should loook like this:
8 Dainius Zubrus - 14 Adam Henrique - 17 Ilya Kovalchuk
26 Patrik Elias - 19 Travis Zajac - 23 David Clarkson
20 Ryan Carter - 11 Stephen Gionta - 18 Steve Bernier
22 Krys Barch - 16 Jacob Josefson - 10 Peter Harrold
24 Bryce Salvador - 28 Anton Volchenkov
6 Andy Greene - 5 Adam Larsson
7 Henrik Tallinder - 2 Marek Zidlicky
-A few sights from around Consol Energy Center. The barn:
-James Neal is the IceTime cover:
-Fans coming in off Centre Avenue:
-Some jerseys. Evgeni _____n Team Russia:
-Martin Brodeur's fanbase is represented today (as is the Pine-Richland Orchestra):
-Brodeur Team Canada:
-The Civic Arena site stil looks bizarre to us with out the building:
-Jersey Foul Combo of the Day: Joe Thornton Sharks and Joe Flacco Ravens?
-Jersey of the Day: This might be jersey of the year. Craig Adams Harvard:
-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz Kris Letang, Simon Despres and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Dustin Jeffrey, Ben Lovejoy and Eric Tangradi.
-The Devils' starters are Steve Bernier, Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta, Bryce Salvador, Anton Volchenkov and Martin Brodeur.
-Their scratches are Mark Fayne and Stefan Matteau.
-Jeff Jimerson does his thing:
19:34: Kunitz swats a loose puck in the right circle on net. Brodeur fights it off.
19:04: Boychuk takes the ice with Neal and Malkin. From the slot, Neal slides a pass to Malkin above the right circe. Malkin hamers a one-timer which misses the mark. Andy Greene appeared to block a piece of that shot.
17:53: Marek Zidlcky has a slapper blocked by Brook Orpik.
15:57: Letang drops Harrold with a shoulder check at the Penguins' blue line.
15:13: After Malkin and Boychuk force a turnover by Volchenkov in the left circle. Makin circles around and deals a pass to Neal in the right circe. Neal drops the hammer on a one-timer. Brodeur eats it up.
14:38: The Penguins get the first power play of the game as Ilya Kovalchuk is called for slashing Orpik. Neal, Crosby, Malkin, Letang and Kunitz take the ice.
14:05: From the left wing, Letang flips a bakchander on net. Brodeur absorbs the shot.
13:50: After Malkin and Neal turn the puck over in the right circle of the Devils' zone, Elias takes the puck and leads a two-on-one with Josefson against Letang. Letang basically closes in on Elias, takes the puck back and skates it out of danger from his own right circle.
13:00: Paul Martin has a slapper from the left point blocked in front.
12:38: The Kovalchuk minor is killed. Not a lot going on for the Penguins there. Only two shots.
11:11: Kovalchuk has a chance in tight but can't beat Fleury.
10:10: Crosby and Malkin take a shift with Tanner Glass.
9:41: Henrik Tallinder wires a shot from the left point. It sneaks through traffic and is gloved by Fleury.
9:12: Dupuis races into the offensive zone with the puck on the left wing, fakes a slapper then fires one at the cage. Volchenkov, ever the puck magnet, blocks it.
8:59: After Bortuzzo forces a Devils turnover at the Penguins' blue line, Crosby enters the Devils' zone at the center point and deals a pass to Dupuis on the left wing. Dupuis lifts a wrister juuust over the cage.
5:52: Henrique weaves his way over the Penguins' blue line at the center point, goes wide to right against Martin with the puck on his backhand and forces a backhander on net. Fleury kicks it out.
5:29: After Orpik whiffs on a hit attempt against Jacob Josefson on the right wing of the Penguins' zone, Josefson deals a pass to Kovalchuk on the left wing. Kovalchukk winds up an cracks a one-timer djuuuust off the mark to the far side.
4:30: Despres and Clarkson race for a loose puck int he left wing corner of the Penguins' zone. Both go hard into the boards and each takes a tumble. Despres went in there full bore.
3:48: Tyler Kennedy crlces around Devils net and holds up in the left circle, He looksa at the cage and lifts a wrister on net. Brodeur makes the save. The rebound hops to the slot where Brandon Sutter is all over it. As Brodeur is tied up with Matt Cooke, Sutter lifts a little wrister into a seemingly open net but Volchenkov blocks it. Volchenkov had his back to the play but instinctively kicked out his right leg to make that save. What a play.
0:07: Engelland turns teh puck over in the defenisve zone. Engelland steals it on the right wing boards. Crosby tries to recover the puck and hacks out Josefson's skates. That's two minutes for Crosby for tripping. Sutter, Cooke, Martin and Letang take the ice. Rough time to take a penalty.
0:03: Zidlicky snaps off a shot from the right circle. Fleury fights it off despite traffic.
0:00: End of period. Devils 0, Penguins 0.
-For the most part, that was a well played period by both teams. It was mostly clean. Turnovers were kept to a mininum and defense was strong for each team. There weren't a ton of quality scoring chances for either team.
-Beyond helping Malkin force a turnover which set up Neal for a nice shot, the Zach Boychuk era has started very quietly. He had 4:25 of ice time on six shifts and no shots.
-The Penguins' one and only power play looked rather ineffective but did a decent job of at least maintaining possession in the offensive zone.
-Anton Volchenkov was just a puck magnet that period.
-The Penguins have an 8-6 lead ins hots.
-Kovalchuk leads the game with two.
-Martin leads the game with 9:25 of ice tme.
-Salvador leads the Devils with 7:30.
-The Penguins have an 11-5 lead in faceoffs (69 percent).
-Crosby is 6 for 8 (75 percent).
-Travis Zajac is 1 for 2 (50 percent).
-Brooks Orpk leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Volchenkov leads the Devils with two.
-Boychuk is the 16th player to wear No. 17 for the Penguins. He joins:
Bill Speer (1968-1969)
Bill Lecaine (1969)
Ron Schock (1970-1977)
Rick Kehoe (1978-1985)
Lee Giffin (1988)
Brad Aitken (1991)
Tomas Sandstrom (1994-1997)
Peter Ferraro (1998)
Brian Bonin (1999)
Tom Chorske (2000)
Toby Petersen (2001-2002)
Matt Murley (2006)
Karl Stewart (2007)
Petr Sykora (2008-2009)
Mike Rupp (2010-2011)
20:00: The Devils will have 1:53 of power-play time on fresh ice to start teh period. Adams, Cooke, Martin and Orpikt ake the ice.
19:24: After Orpik forces a turnover behind the Penguins' net, Martin takes the puck and from the left corner, flings the puck dwn ice for a clear.
19:02: Martin intercepts a pass in the left circle and flips it down ice for another clear. Two strong defensive plays by him.
18:26: Kovalchuk controls the puck at center point, slides to his left and whips a wrister at the cage. It hit something and deflects just wide.
17:55: As Crosby leaves the puck, he gains the offensive zone on the center point, He slides a pass to Adams trailing slightly on the left. Adams forces a pass to Sutter on the right wing. Sutter is covered and can't get a clean shot off.
17:33: Sutter races after a puck at the left point and taps it by Larsson who is reaching with his stick. He recovers it in the slot. and puts it on net. Brodeur holds out the initial shot. Crosby is on the door step and whacks the rebound. Brodeur holds that out as well with is g. Sutter and Crosby each pounce on the rebound and Crosby punches it by Brodeur's leg with a backhander. What a tenacious goal by the Penguins. Sutter and Malkin get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.
17:08: A wriste by Neal in the left circle is fought off by Brodeur.
15:40: Crosby races into the offensive on the left wing and wires a wobbly wrister to the far side. It appears to trick Brodeur a bit who snags it with his glove hand but falls over.
14:13: Engelland sneaks a wrister from the left point through traffic. Brodeur kicks it out.
13:34: After a rare turnover by Brodeur behind his own net, Cooke deals a pass from the end boards to Kennedy just in front of the crease. Kennedy pumps a quick shot on net. Brodeur fights it off.
11:30: Scoring change. Sutter gets credit for the Penguins' goal. Crosby and Malkin get assists. It's Sutter's first goal with the Penguins.
10:04: Volchenkov controls a puck on the right wing of the Devils' zone and tries to deal a pass to Salvador in the opposite circle. He fans on the pass attempts and it slide right to Kunitz in the inside edge of the left circle circle. Kunitz immediately grips and rips a wrister by Brodeur's left skate. What a gift. Volchenkov lays on the ice in disgust. The goal is unassisted. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 2-0.
9:16: Elias is nabbed for holding Crosby. They jaw a bit heading into the commercial break. Crosby, Kunitz, Neal, Letang and Malkin each take the ice.
9:09: Off his own faceoff win, Crosby lifts a wrister from above the left circle. Brodeu kicks it out.
8:09: After a brutal turnover in the offensive zone by Letang, Kovalchuk pushes the puck up the left wing. He challenges Malkin one-on-one. Malkin leans down and pokes the puck away from him. Nice defensive play by Malkin
7:37: The Penguins get loose in their own zone and pay the price. After a neutral zone turnover, Dainius Zubrus spins off a check from Dupuis on he right wing boards of the Penguins zone and deals a pass to a wide open Andy Greene in the slot. Greene moves the puck to his backhand and tucks it through Fleury's five hole. Just ... awful. Paul Martin was out to lunch on that play. Zubrus and Ryan Carter get assists. Penguins 2-1.
7:16: The Penguins' power play mercifully comes to an end.
5:17: Off a nice cross ice breakout pass by Bortuzzo from his own left circle to the opposite wing at the Devils' blue line. Kunitz races up the left wing and pounds a slapper on net. Brodeur eats it up. Attendance is announced as 18,635. It is the 257th consecutive sell-out.
4:08: Neal grips and rips a wrister from the right cirlce over the cage.
3:39: Kovalchuk pounds a slapper from the left wing. Fleury fights it off.
1:55: Larsson fires a slapper from the left point. Fleury kicks it out.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Devils 1.
-Mistakes kind of dictated how things went period. Poor plays by Larsson and Volchenkov led to the Penguins' goals. General brain inactivity by the Penguins' power play led to the Devils' goal.
-After looking okay in the first period, the Penguins' power play regressed badly in the second period. Even if you look beyond the short-handed goal, it just didn't have anything going.
-The Penguins are the first team to allow two short-handed goals this season.
-Robert Bortuzzo has been outstanding today. His pass to set up Kunitz with a scoring chance in the second period took some guts to make. Beyond that, he's made plenty of safe, sensible plays in his own zone.
-Boychuk continued to be quiet that period. He has 7:14 of ice tme on 10 shifts and no shots.
-The Penguins' third line has picked it up a bit. It's had a few scoring chances and has been a pain most of the day to the Devils' defensemen.
-Fleury hasn't really been tested a great deal.
-The Penguins have a 19-14 lead in shots.
-Kunitz, Sutter and Kovalchuk each lead the game with three shots.
Martin lead the game with 18:22 of ice tme.
-Salvador leads the Devils with 14:41.
-The Penguins have a 22-13 lead in faceoffs (63 percent).
-Crosby is 11 for 15 (73 percent).
-Zajac is 5 for 8 (63 percent).
-Orpik and Greene each lead the game with three blocked shots.
-Today's giveaway is a mousepad. Our thumb conveniently covering the logo of the advertising total media company not included:
19:39: David Clarkson, who has been quiet today, re-directs a shot on net. Fleury fights it off.
19:30: Letang makes an impressive rush up the left wing and flings a wrister on net.
19:12: Off a pass from Neal in the neutral zone. Boychuk races into the offensive zone on a two-on-one with Malkin against Harrold. Harrold takes away the pass and fights it off
18:33: Tallinder pounds a slapper on net from the right point. Fleury fights it off despite traffic.
18:40: Root Sports shows a replay of Sutter and Cooke colliding on the right wing boards in the neutral zone. Cooke ended up kneeing Sutter in the head. Ouch.
17:29: After Malkin forces a turnover behind the cage, From the right wing corner, Kunitz snaps off a pass to the slot. Letang takes the pass, holds for a moment and rips a wrister which toasts Brodeur. What a shot. Whan an effort by Malkin to create that chance. Kunitz and Malkin get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 3-1.
15:22: After another turnover by the Devils deep in this own zone, Bortuzzo flings a wrister from the left point. It hits something in front. Crosby battles through a check and flips a wrister off the rebound on net. Brodeur says no.
12:49: Off a turnover by the Devils at the Penguins' blue line, Kunitz slide the puck up to Crosby leads a rush up the left wing. He coasts into the offensive zone, allows Savador to slide down for a potential block and picks his shot, a wrister to the far side by Brodeurs's glove hand. What a shot. Kunitz and Dupuis get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 4-1.
12:24: Sing-song "Marrr...teeeeee...." chants start for Brodeur.
10:09: Crosby forces a turnover behind the Devils net and deals a pass to Bortuzzo at the center point. Bortuzzo winds up and punches a low slapper whch slides through Brodeur's legs. That has to be a save. Bortuzzo looks like he's about to jump through the roof as he celebrates his first career NHL goal. Crosby and Dupuis get assists. Great play by Crosby to set that up. The "Hey Song" is getting worn out. Penguins 5-1.
6:40: Carter trips up Engelland behind the Penguins' net. That's two minutes. Martin, Letang, Kunitz, Crosby and Malkin take the ice.
6:30: Malkin hammers a one-timer from the right circe. Salvador mans up and blocks it. He's hobbling aferwards.
5:00: Despres whacks a rising one-timer from the left point wide to the far side.
4:40: The Penguins' power play expires. They did little with that chance.
4:24: After a turnover by Despres on the left wall of his own zone, Bernier sneaks in and has a chance in tight. Fleury holds it out.
4:10: Off a rebound of a blocked shot, Bernier has a nother chance in tight but can't beat Fleury's right leg. Big save.
2:33: Boychuk hammers Salvador with a hard hi along the left wign boards in the neutral zone.
2:29: Creepig in from the left cirlcle on a two-on-one against Engelland, Clarkson rips a shot fo the far sieside. Fleury gloves it. Nice save.
2:06: Volchenkov an Crosby battle i the right wing corner of the Penguins' zone. Crosby hooks up Volchenkov's leg and Volchenkov does a frog splash off the top turnbuckle. Crosby is called for tripping. Volchenkov gets a 9.5 from the French judge. Martin, Orpik, Cooke and Sutter take the ice.
0:00: Crosby's minor expires.
0:00: End of game.The "Woo-Hoo" song is played. Penguins 5, Devils 1.
-The parade starts on Centre Avenue right?
-What an impressive win for the Penguins. When you near that boring, tired cliche about playing "Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey," this is what the Penguins are talking about. They came at the Devils with speed and physicality and forced New Jersey into making mistakes. The Devils turned the puck over in bunches and the Penguins took full advantage. This was a vintage Dan Bylsma win.
-Not to be a killjoy, but this was hardly the Devils' at their best. They just looked awful. There's still a ton of talent on this team. We suspect the Penguins will face a better Devils team in the future.
-What really seemed to give the Deviils fits was the Penguins' defense. The Devils just couldn't get the puck deep all that often and were kept to the perimiter with most of their shots. They almost looked like how the Penguins played earlier this week against the Islanders in that regard.
-CHris Kunitz came into this game questionable due to an illness. He managed to respond with a goal and two assists and was very involved in the Penguins' forecheck. Hopefully for the Penguins' sake, he stays away from Vitamin C for the time being.
-The Penguins did a good job of mixing and matching their lines today. Quite often, they had Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby on the ice together and that seemed to give the Devils some issues. Those two were all over the offensive zone today.
-Robert Bortuzzo may have been the Penguins' best defenseman today. Even if you discount his first career goal, he played a strong, dependable and safe game defensively. He got pucks in deep and helped the Penguins prevent the Devils from establishing much offensively. Whenever Matt Niskanen is healthy, the Penguins are going to have a tough decision to make on who to sit.
-Marc-Andre Fleury was hardly tested for the first 50 minutes of this game. The Devils started to apply a little offensive pressure late but couldn't find a way to beat Fleury. He shut the door when it started to creak open a bit.
-Zach Boychuk seemed a tad lost at first in this game and understandably so. But once the game wore on a bit, he seemed to get a little bit more comfortable with playing on a line featuring two all-stars in Malkin and Neal. He used his speed and even threw the body around a bit. It was a quietly successful debut for him. He had 12:00 of ice time on 17 shifts and one shot.
-The Penguins' third line had a strong game, particularly on defense. Brandon Sutter, Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke presented some problems for the Devils five-on-five in the neutral zone.
-The one wart on this game was another bad effort by the Penguins' power play. It didn't generate ton of shots, let alone quality ones and it allowed the Devils' only goal of the day in a short-handed situation. This remains a work in progress.
-The Penguins penalty kill was strong and really just snuffed out any chances the Devils had offensively.
-It's no coincidence the Penguins have won their last two games while also getting a little secondary scoring.
-The Devils' top fowards were just non-factors today. Ilya Kovalchuk, Travis Zajac, David Clarkson, Patrik Elias contributed little.
-Andy Greene was one of the few bright spots for the Devils. He played a calm, composed game and didn't really make any mistakes. His heads-up effort to get open accounted for the Devils' only goal.
-The Penguins led in shots, 30-16.
-Crosby led the game with five.
-Kovalchuk led the Devils with three.
-Martin led the game with 24:50 of ice time.
-Kovachuk led the Devils with 23:57.
-The Penguins led in faceoffs, 34-21 (62 percent).
-Crosby was 14 for 21 (67 percent).
-Zajac was 8 for 11 (73 percent).
-Brooks Orpik, Andy Greene and Anton Volchenkov each led the game with three blocked shots.
-Pascal Dupuis (180 points) passed up Rick Tocchet (179) for 39th place on the team's all-time scoring list.