-The Devils have been talking about this game for a few days. They want to some revenge after being humbled by the Penguins last Saturday. Also, they're right on the Penguins' heels for the division and conference leads. Expect to see a rabid Devils team today.
-It'll be interesting to see how they try to matchup against the Penguins' defensemen with the final change before faceoffs as the home team. With Kris Letang out, the Devils only really have one defensive pairing they should want to avoid in Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik.
-Martin Brodeur appears in his 1,200 career game today. That's a ridiculous number for a goaltender. That's more than the Predators (1,076), Jets/Thrashers (994), Blue Jackets (913) and Wild (912).
-EN Reader Bernard Reese is on hand in Newark and sends in a few pregame photos.The barn:
-Snow, snow, snow at the Prudential Center:
-A few Penguins fans are on hand. Mario Lemieux:
-And Kris Letang as well as Evgeni Malkin:
-Sidney Crosby and Letang:
-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Dustin Jeffrey, Kris Letang and Eric Tangradi.
-The Devils' starters are David Clarkson, Patrik Elias, Adam Henrique, Adam Greene, Adam Larsson and Martin Brodeur.
-Their scratches are Peter Harrold, Henrik Tallinder and Dainius Zubrus.
19:48: Clarkson sneaks up the left wing wall and puts a wrister on net. FLeury fends it off.
19:35: Malkin races up the eft wing and deals a pass to Crosby on the right wing. Crosby flings a backhander juuust over the cage.
19:32: Robbery. Malkin controls the rebound in the left wing corner and snaps off a pass to Kunitz wide open to the right of the paint. Kunitz whips it on net but Brodeur steals the puck with a glove hand.
19:16: Malkin tries to dance by Clarkson at the left point but Clarkson kciks out his skate and trips out Malkin. That's two minutes for tripping. The Penguins put out the JV power play of Brandon Sutter, Tyler Kenneyd, Pascal Dupuis, Dylran Reese and Simon Despres.
18:47: The JV scores. Kennedy controls the puck in the left wing corner, surveys the offensive zone and deals a pass to Despres at the left point. Despres drops the hammer on a one-timer. It sails towards the net, hits a few things en route to the cage and beats Brodeur. Sutter gets credit for the goal. He appeared to deflects the puck with his stick. Despres and Kennedy get assists. Penguins 1-0.
16:05: Ilya Kovalchuk gets a little space at the left point and cranks a slapper over the cage.
15:33: Off a cycle by the third line, Kennedy taps a pass to Cooke in the slot. Cooke chops a one-timer which is off the mark.
13:53: Malkin is called for interference against Stephen Gionta. Craig Adams, Tanner Glass, Martin and Orpik take the ice.
11:53: Two minutes later, the Penguins effectively kill off the Devils' power play. New Jersey did not record one official shot on net.
11:38: Clarkson tries to rush the puck up the left wing but is knocked off his skates by Engelland. Oof.
11:20: Clarkson hits Crosby away from the puck in the right faceoff circle. No call. Engelland tries to make Clarkson answer for the hit. That results in Engelland dropping the glove with Krys Barch at center ice. Engelland has the early advantage as he lands several rights on the top of Barch's lid. They start to wear out and the fight turns into a wrestling match. Not sure how that makes sense. Engelland hits Clarkson. Clarkson hits Crosby. Engelland tries to fight Clarkson. Engelland fights Barch. Okay. Also, Sidney Crosby appears to be celebrating Movember three months late:
10:40: The great Joe Vitale and Mark Fayne race for a puck in the right wing corner of the Devils' zone. Vitale hits Fayne from the side and sends him into the boards. That's two minutes for boarding. Sutter, Adams, Orpik and
10:26: Marek Zidlicky has a chance in the right wing circle. He moves in and lifts a wrister on net. Fleury fights it off.
9:30: Kovalchuk moves by a check from Dupuis and snaps off a wrister from above the left circle. Despres blocks it by kicking out a leg.
8:40: The Vitale penalty is killed. The Devils recorded only one shot on net.
7:56: Malkin deals a pass from the left circle and slides a cross ice pass to James Neal in the opposite circle. Neal grips a rips a wrister from the right circle but fans a bit on it. Zach Boychuk is in the slot and re-directs the wayward shot wide of the cage.
7:24: Stefan Matteau fires a wrister from the left wing. Despite traffic, Fleury is able to steer the rebound to the near corner.
6:28: The Devils go on the power play again. Robert Bortuzzo (roughing), Dupuis (elbowing) and Adam Henrique (roughing) get minors. Sutter, Adams, Orpik and Martin take the ice.
4:28: The Penguins kill off another power play. This time, New Jersey didn't record a single official shot on net.
4:03: A wrister by Malkin is fended off by Brodeur.
3:45: Off a nifty one-touch pass form Boychuk above the right circle, Engelland chops a one-timer from the left point. Brodeur says no.
3:29: Bortuzzo fires a slapper from the right point. Brodeur punches it away.
2:56: Larsson flings a wrister from the left point . Fleury knocks it away.
0:44: Off a turnover by Malkin behind his own net, Patrik Elias snaps off a bad-angle wrister from the right wing. Fleury fights it off.
0:03: After a neutral zone turnover by Despres, Steve Bernier pushes the puck up the right wing, fends off Despres, attacks the net and deals a pass to the front of the blue paint to a streaking Carter. Carter barges in and taps a shot just off the mark.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Devils 0.
-Penalties aside, that was a pretty strong period for the Penguins. They dominated most of the five-on-five play in the Devils' zone. The maintained most of the puck possession and scraped out a lead.
-The penalties were the only wort on that period for the Penguins. Thankfully for their sake, their penalty kill was outstanding.
-The Devils appear to be trying to match-up against the Penguins' bottom defensive pairing of Bortuzzo and Engelland. But those two don't seem to be overwhelmed by taking on the Devils' top two lines.
-The Penguins third line appears to having some major chemistry going on. Sutter is starting to get really comfortable between Cooke and Kennedy.
-Shots are tied, 7-7.
-Clarkson leads the game with two.
-Kovalchuk leads the game with 10:53 of ice time.
-Martin leads the Penguins with 9:27.
-The Penguins have a 9-7 edge in faceoffs (56 percent).
-Malkin is 3 for 3 (100 percent).
-Travis Zajac is 3 for 5 (60 percent).
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
18:59: Orpik appears to get away with a bit of a trip against Zajac behidn the Penguins' net.
18:41: Malkin sort of leans down on a one-timer attempt in the Devils' slot. It gets blocked. Matteau falls on Malkin. Malkin seems a little shaken up after the collision
18:04: Another penalty. Engelland is nabbed for interference against Bernier. Crosby, Adams, Martin and Orpik take the ice.
17:50: Kovalchuk winds up and golfs a one-timer from the left point. Fleury bodies it away with his chest.
17:26: Zidlicky chops a slapper from the right point through traffic. Fleury fight sit off. Orpik chips the rebound down ice for a line change.
16:04: The Engelland minor is killed. The Devils managed to get four shots on net during that two minutes.
15:56: Off a neutral zone turnover by Bernier, Zajack flings a wrister from the left wing off the mark.
12:59: Bryce Salvador flings a wrister form the left point. Fleury punches it away.
12:50: Clarkson cross checks Orpik in front of the Penguins' net. That's two minutes. Neal, Malkin, Crosby, Malkin and Despres take the ice. Martin had a long shifts before this power play so Despres get s a chance with the first power-play unit.
11:34: Kovalchuk is up ice with the puck on the right wing. Shorthanded, he snaps off a wrister which links off the cross bar.
11:25: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Fayne puts a shot on net from the right point. Fleury knocks it dead. Henrique chops away for a rebound but can't get a clean handle on the puck.
10:50: The Clarkson penalty is killed. That was a pretty stale effort by the Penguins that two minutes. The Penguins were outshot by the Devils, 2-1, during that power play.
10:20: Another power play for the Devils. Green and the great Joe Vitale go into the right wing corner. Vitale hits him from the side. Somehow, that's called for boarding. What a ridiculously weak penalty. Vitale, Adams, Orpik and Martin take the ice.
9:06: Zidlicky sneaks up the right wing and lifts a wrister from the right circle. Fleury fights it off.
8:30: Off some tic-tac-toe passing, Henrique has a wide open chance in the right circle but taps the puck wide. Fleury was badly out of position on that.
8:20: The Vitale minor is killed. The Devils had three shots on net during that man advantage.
6:42: The Penguins get a power play as Malkin undresses Fayne in the Devils' slot. Fayne prevents a breakaway by hooking up Malkin and tripping him. That's two minutes. Malkin, Martin, Crosby Neal and Kunitz take the ice.
6:25: Malkin chops a one-timer from the right circle. Salvador blocks it with his stick and clears the rebound down ice.
5:32: Malkin pounds a slapper form the right circle. Brodeur kicks it out.
4:40: As the Fayne minor expires, Elias takes a drop pass from Henrique in the right circle and whips a heavy wrister which Despres blocks. Not much going on there for the Penguins. The Penguins only had one official shot during that two minutes.
3:29: The Devils tie it up. Off an offensive zone faceoff win by Zajac, Larsson controls the puck at the right point. Glass and Cooke each pressure him. Larsson feeds a pass to Greene at the left point. Greene fakes a slapper and chops a pass to Matteau wide open in the right circle. Matteau stops the puck and lifts the puck over a sprawling Fleury. Orpik raises his hands in disgust at his teammates for how they defended that. Just about everyone in a white jersey can take a bite of that crud sandwich. Greene and Larsson get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Devils 1, Penguins 1.
2:25: Off a rare puck-handling error by Brodeur. Dupuis steals the puck above the right circle and deals a pass to Malkin to the right of hte cage. Brodeur is able to hold it out with his left skate. You don't see mistakes like that from Brodeur too often.
1:45: The Penguisn get a late power play as Ryan Carter is nabbed for interference against Boychuk. Martin, Malkin, Neal, Crosby and Kuntiz take the ice.
1:27: Neal and Kunitz each have chance in front but can't get a clean shot off.
1:14: Neal lifts a wrister from the left circle. Brodeu fights it off.
0:35: WHOA?!?! The Devils clear the puck down ice for a change. As that happens, Brodeur skates to the eft wing corner to recover his stick he lost during a scramble near his cage. Seeing this, Fleury races out of his crease to play the puck up Malkin at the blue line on the right wing. Malkin IMMEDIATELY whips a shot on the empty net. It hits Brodeur's skate and skirts across the front of the blue line. Brodeur kind of trips and covers the puck. Play was blown dead for a delayed offsides. What a freaky sequence.
0:00: End of period. Devils 1, Penguins 1.
-That was a bland, stale period for the Penguins. They really couldn't maintain much momentum or attack. Penalties hd a lot to do with that but the Penguins just couldn't get anything going.
-The penalties have really broken up the momentum for both teams. Officials are calling thing really tight and it seems like it doesn't take much to head to the penalty box.
-As strong as the Penguins' penalty kill has been, the first power-play unit as been weak. It doesn't seem to have the struture or consistency it displayed against the Capitals Thursday.
-Fleury has been asked to do a lot today.
-Greene is such an underrated player. He just fits the Devils and their style of play perfectly.
-The Devils have a 19-15 lead in shots.
-Neal, Malkin, Crosby, Matteau and Clarkson each lead the game with three shots.
-Kovalchuk leads the game with 19:49 of ice time.
-Martin leads the Penguins with 19:16.
-The Devils have a 19-18 edge in faceoffs (51 percent).
-Malkin is 5 for 6 (83 percent).
-Jacob Josefson is 5 for 7 (71 percent).
-Despres leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Salvador leads the Devils with two.
20:00: The Penguins will have 15 seconds of power-play time on fresh ice to start the period. Malkin, Neal, Crosby, Kunitz and Martin take the ice.
19:47: Kunitz puts a shot on net from the right wing. Brodeur knocks it dead and covers.
19:45: The Penguins' power play expires. The Penguins recorded five shots on net with that man advantage.
17:34: Malkin makes a furious rush into the offensive zone, goes one-on-one against Greene and both players tumble in the right wing corner. Both players get penalties. Malkin for roughing and Greene for slashing. Both kind of weak calls. Four on four.
17:09: Orpik settles a puck in the left circle and chops a slapper. Zajac blocks it.
16:51: With Zajac crashing, Zidlicky lobs a wrister on net from the right half wall. Fleury kicks it out.
15:34: Malkin and Greene return to the ice.
14:02: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Crosby and Dupuis each have chance in tight but can't beat Brodeur low.
13:09: Kovalchuk sneaks a wrister on net from the left point. Despite traffic, Fleury fends it off.
12:39: Zidlicky chops a half slapper from the right point. It hits a body in front. Barch settles the puck and flings a wrister at the cage. Malkin blocks it. Zajac gets the rebound to the left of the slot. Fleury kicks out his shot. There's a big rebound for Barch in the slot. Before he can shoot, Malkin pokes the puck away.
10:23: Zidlicky pounds a slapper form above the right circle. Fleury punches it away.
10:12: Zidlcy sneaks up the right wing and attacks the net. Glass hooks him up a bit. Zidlicky goes down a tad too easily. Glass is called for hooking. Sutter, Cooke, Orpik and Martin take the ice.
9:27: A backhander by Cooke from the right circle is blockd by Zidlicky.
9:04: Bobby Butler rips a wrister from the right circle. It clangs off the near post and deflects to the left circe. Henrique is sitting there and punches the rebound into the wide open cage. Bernier had a great screen on Fleury to prevent him from making a save on Butler's show. Butler and Kovalchuk get assists. Devils 2-1.
8:45: Malkin trips up Carter in the neutral zone. Brainless play by Malkin, especially considering how tight the officials are calling this. Sutter, Crosby, Orpik and Martin take the ice.
6:52: Game. Set. Match. Butler gets a pass in the right circle and snaps off a wrister to the far side. He just toasts Fleury to the far side. Bernier had a slight screen on that but what a shot by Butler. That said, Fleury needs to make that save. Green and Kovalchuk get assists. Devils 3-1.
5:45: Another weak call. This time it benefits the Penguins. Fayne sort of holds up Malkin in the Devils' zone. We don't know what constitutes a penalty any more. Crosby, Malkin, Martin, Kunitz and Neal take the ice.
5:34: That didn't last long. Neal slashes Anton Volchenkov's stick behind the Devils' net and saws it in half. Four on four for 1:49. This is a legitimate penalty. No discipline.
5:01: Another penalty! Zajac drives to the offensive zone away from the puck. Martin tries to hold him up. That's interfence. The Penguins are just frustrated at his point. The Devils call a time-out to get organized. Adams, Orpik and Cooke take the ice.
4:44: After blows a tires in the left wing corner, Adams takes the puck off him and whips ion net from above the left circle. Brodeur fends it off.
3:44: From the left point, Kovalchuk winds up and booms a slapper. Fleury eats it up.
3:32: The Neal minor is killed. The Devils will have a five-on-four for 32 seconds.
3:21: Kovalchuk booms a one-timer from the right point. Butler gets in the way and drops like a stone after being struck in the leg. Yeoch.
3:02: Another penalty! Orpik is called for unsportsmanlike conduct. Crosby, Dupuis and Engelland take the ice.
3:01: Martin returns to the ice.
2:26: Greene fires a wrister from the left point. Fleury makes the save.
1:42: Glass tries to chip and chase the puck into the offensive zone on the left wing but is interfered with by Fayne. That's two minutes. Four on four for 40 seconds. The Penguins pull Fleury for an extra attacker.
1:02: Neal returns to the ice. The Penguins will have a power-play for the rest of regulation.
0:56: Off some tic-tac-toe passing, Malkin has a chance to the right of the cage but is robbed by the glove hand of Brodeur. Wow. The Penguins call a time-out.
0:12: Dupuis and Kunitz each have chances in tight. No dice.
0:00: End of period. Devils 3, Penguins 1.
-First things first, the Penguins deserved this loss. They took a ton of penalties, deserved or otherwise, and allowed the Devils to come back on the strength of power-plays goals. This is at the Penguins' feet.
-That said, the penalties today dictated this game. The officials called things way too tight and eliminated any flow of the game. We're normally pretty big fans of calling things by the book for every situation, but this was ridiculous.
-Give the Devils credit. The adjusted to the officials and won the game. The Penguins remained undisciplined and go home in second place.
-The Penguins certainly had their fair share of power plays to work without and did very little with their opportunities. They produced one power-play goal with the second unit. But the first unit was just simply flat.
-The Penguins' penalty killers were strong most of the game but they eventually reached their breaking point. Ten power plays are a LOT to defend.
-Fleury was okay. He didn't play the Matteau goal very well but that was a trainwreck defensively. He probably could have made a save on the Butler goal as well. Either way, not many goaltenders are going to win games where they face 10 power play.
-Evgeni Malkin lost his head. An alternate captain can't do that. He should have realized how the officials were calling the game and adjusted. He needs to be better.
-Deryk Engelland and Robert Bortuzzo were very involved in the game today. The Devils appeared to try to send their better forwards against that pairing. Engelland and Bortuzzo were up to the task five-on-five.
-James Neal had a very quiet game today.
-Given the lack of five on five time, it's probably not fair to judge Zach Boychuk's game today, but he's been quiet the past two games.
-Dylan Reese was quiet. And that's prbably a good thing.
-Andy Greene is such an underrated player. He reminds us of Paul Martin in a lot of ways during his time with the Devils. He just makes, calm, composed plays and gets involved in the offense. He's pretty unassuming but very effective. He first the Devils' way of doing things perfectly.
-David Clarkson is going to make some money this offseason as an unrestricted free agent. He's a 30-goal scorer who mixes it up physically. He's a prototypical power forward for this day and age.
-That Brodeur guy ain't too shabby.
-The Devils led in shots, 28-25.
-Sidney Crosby and Marek Zidlicky each led the game with six shots.
-Ilya Kovalchuk led the game with 30:01 of ice time.
-Paul Martin led the Penguins with 28:49.
-The Penguins had a 32-28 lead in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Sidney Crosby was 13 for 22 (59 percent).
-Travis Zajac was 11 fo 20 (55 percent).
-Brooks Orpik and Simon Despres each led the game with three blocked shots.
-Bryce Salvador led the Devils with two blocked shots.