-Greetings on another mild February day. It's in the high 40s, kind of cloudy and even a tad humid. It's not a pretty day by any means, but it's dry and free of wind. You'll take it for this time of year. Dahntahn:
-Tomas Vokoun has a fan on hand:
-The spot of grass where the Penguins held a viewing party during last season's playoffs now has some trees planted on it:
-We wonder where they'll hold viewing parties in the future should they choose to do so.
-Brandon Sutter makes his IceTime cover debut:
-It's going to be interesting to see how both teams react to yesterday's contest which became a special teams battle. Presuming there's more five-on-five play, this could be an entirely different type of contest.
-The Penguins' defense comes in with a few question marks today in terms of health. With Kris Letang going on injured reserve due to a "lower-body" ailment, the team recalled Joe Morrow from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. We haven't watched many Wilkes-Barre/Scranton games this season, but by many accounts, Morrow has had a rough first season as a professional, particularly in terms of playing defense. Dan Bylsma said he was recalled for insurance in case another defenseman isn't available tonight. Perhaps with two of the team's more offensively gifted defenders - Letang and and Matt Niskanen - each sidelined, the team wanted another offensive blue liner.
-Chatting with Devils rookie forward Stefan Matteau today, we noticed how big of a body he already has for an 18-year old. He's listed at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds which is huge for a hockey player that young. Just wait untl he fills out a bit. He'll be a terror near the net.
-We came across a baffling statistic today. Despite only being a member of the franchhise for two seasons and change, former Penguin Johan Hedberg already has the second-most shutouts in the history of the Devils/Rockies/Scouts franchise with eight. Chris Terreri is third with seven. We realize Martin Brodeur dominated the games available for goaltenders in the history of this franchise, but how is it no other goaltender even has double-digit shutouts?
-Speaking of Hedberg, he talked about his time in Pittsburgh today and called it "special." In reference to the parking lot which occupies the Civic/Mellon Arena site, Hedberg said, ""It's hard to imagine it was there when you just see a parking lot."
-Fans entering the barn:
-Ben ___ejoy still has a fan here:
-There are a handful of Devils fans on hand. This fan is getting his money's worth out of his Zach Parise jersey:
-This is a former Jersey of the Night. Chris Kunitz Ferris State:
-Submitted without further commentary. A "Sudden Death" jersey:
-The man who played Brad Tolliver in that epic piece of cinema, Jay Caufield:
-A set of heroic postseason No. 25s. Maxime Talbot:
-And Kevin Stevens:
-Former Penguins/Devils postseason hero, Petr Sykora:
-Jersey of the Night: Moose:
-The Penguins starters are Zach Boychuk, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Robert Bortuzzo, Deryk Engelland and Tomas Vokoun.
-Their scratches are Joe Morrow, the great Joe Vitale and Eric Tangradi.
-Dustin Jeffrey dresses in place of Vitale. Vitale has cooled down a bit in recent games after coming out of the gates flying.
-The Devils' starters are Steve Bernier, Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta, Mark Fayne, Bryce Salvador and Johan Hedberg.
-Their scrathces are Peter Harrold, Henrik Tallinder and Dainius Zubus.
-Jeff Jimerson handles his duties:
19:56: Right off the drop, Carter and Borutzzo drop the gloves. They circle each other at the Penguins' blue line for a few moments then lock up. Carter gets the inital blow. Bortuzzo respons with a bevy of wild rights. Carter slips a bit and Bortuzz ges a few blows in. Carter recovers and lands a bit right. Eventually they fall to the ice. This place is rocking after that. That must've been a carry over from yesterday's game. We're not sure if those two specifically bumped heads on any one play or series of plays though.
18:00: Cooke slams Volchenkov with a solid hit into the boards in the front of the visiting penalty box. Replays appear to show Cooke hitting Volchenkov with an elbow or shoulder to the head.
17:08: Malkin gets up ended on a solid hip check on the right wing boarsd of the Devils' zone by Andy Greene.
16:01: Dupuis snaps off a shot from the slot. Hedberg knocks it dead. Crosby jumps on the rebound but is denied by Hedberg.
12:59: After Cooke forces a turnover in the neutral zone, Sutter races into the offensive zone and lifts a wrister on net from just above the left circle. Hedberg eats it up. Another turnover and scoring chance created by the third line.
11:01: A wrister by Greene is fought off by Vokoun. That is New Jersey's first official shot on net.
7:55: Travis Zajac settles a bouncing puck at the Penguins blue line, glides by multiple stick checks by Paul Martin and attacks the net. He tries to jam in a forehand shot but Vokoun stretches out to hold the puck out with his left skate.
7:04: Malkin circles the offenisive zone and whips a pass/shot from the left wing through the slot.
6:54: The Devils strike first. Clarkson hustles out of his own zone up the left wing, gains the Penguins' zone, criss- crosses with Patrick Elias in the slot and lifts a wrister by the glove hand of Vokoun. Great play by Clarkson to use Elias and potentially Bortuzzo as a screen. The goal is unassisted. Devils 1-0.
6:10: The Penguins get the first power play as Gionta is nabbed for interference against Pascal Dupuis. He appeared to trip up Dupuis in above crease while battling for a loose puck. Malkin, Crosby, James Neal, Kunitz and Martin take the ice.
5:08: Taking a cross-ice pass from Crosby in the right circle, Malkin chops a one-time on net. Hedberg stretches to his left, knocks the puck down and covers.
4:10: The Gionta minor expires. The Penguins recorded one shot on net with that chance.
3:44: Matteau chips and chases the puck into the left win corner of the Penguins' zone. He tries to go shoulder to shoulder on Brooks Orpik and is thumped to the ice for his troubles.
2:18: Craig Adams tries to rush the puck up the left wing and his slammed into the boards by Volchenkov. Oof.
1:17: Off a rush into the ofensive zone, Dupuis pulls up on the left wing and deals a pass to Kunitz trailing. Kunitz puts a low heavy shot on net. Hedberg kicks it out.
1:15: Volchenkov puts the puck out of play on the rebound. That's delay of game. Kunitz, Martin, Malkin, Crosby and Neal take the ice.
0:11: Off a drop pass from Malkin, Despre uncorks a wrister from above the left circle. Hedberg eats it up.
0:00: End of period. Devils 1, Penguins 0.
-That was a pretty bland period of hockey all around. Even after that early fight had this place energized, the stale pace of play really took the life out of this place. There's just no energy to this game.
-The Penguins' power play has looked pretty ugly here thus far. It's generated two shots on 3:15 of power-play time. There's tons of movement but little on net.
-The Penguins' third line has been outstanding once again. It's causing all kinds of havoc in the neutral zone.
-The Penguins control shots, 10-4.
-Dupuis leads the game with three.
-Martin leads the game with a mamoth 10:04 of ice time.
-To put that in perspective, that more than Engelland (4:48) and Bortuzzo (3:46) combined (8:34).
-Greene leads the Devils with 9:13.
-The Penguins have a 12-9 lead in faceoffs (57 percent).
-Crosby is 7 for 8 (88 percent).
-Gionta is 5 for 7 (71 percent).
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
20:00: THe Penguins will have45 seconds of power-play time on fresh ice. Malkin, Neal, Crosby, Kunitz and Martin take the ice.
19:28: Malkin has a point shot blocked by Fayne up high.
19:17: Ouch. The Devils clear the pcukd own ice. Befor eit can enter the no-play zone, Vokoun stops it. Gionta gives a soft chase to the puck. As Vokoun clears it, Gionta simply slips and crashes into the end boards with his back and neck hitting first. He ins a heap on the ice. An athletic trainer attends to him. Play is halted for a few moments. Gionta eventually recovers to his skates and heads to the bench under his own power. He and the trainer retreat to the dressing room. That could have ended up a lot worse.
19:15: The Volchenkov minor expires. The Penguins were credited with one shot during that power play.
17:19: Off a drop pass from Carter, Kovlauck lifts a wrister from above the left circle. Vokoun eats it up.
16:34: Bernier dances around a check from Despres and lifts a little wrister on net. Vokoun makes the save but allows a wrister who squirt through his gear and tickle juuuust wide to the right of the cage.
15:46: Sutter fends off a check in the left circle and whips a heavy low wrister on net. Hedberg boots it away.
15:34: Martin pounds a slapper at the right point. Hedberg makes the save. Cooke is there for the rebound but punches it wide.
14:29: Matteau puts a heavy wrister on net from the left circle. Vokoun fights it off.
12:55: Carter controls the puck down low to the left of the net and lifts a backhander on net. Vokoun fights it off. The rebound slides out to the right circle. Vokoun steps
12:35: Malkin whips a loose puck on net with a backhander from the left circke. Hedberg boots it out.
12:02: Play has picked up here. Boychuk controls the puck above the right circle, waits for a play to come together and snaps off a pass to Malkin on the inside of the left circle. He punches the feed on net. Hedberg fights that off. Each goaltender is getting a workout this period.
9:11: Salvador launches a wrister from the left point. Vokoun fights it off.
8:33: Kovachuk leads a two-on-one rush up the left wing with Henrique against Orpik. As Orpik slides over to with a poke check attempt, Kovachuk whips a wrister right through Vokoun's five hole. Ugly goal. Even if that's an all-star shooting, Vokoun needs to make that save. Matteau gets the only assist. Devils 2-0.
8:02: Engelland and Carter collide violently on a check at the Penguins' blue line on the right wing wall. Both seem fine.
7:51: James Neal decides to make an appearance tonight as he cross-checks Bernier. Cooke, Orpik, Martin and Sutter take the ice.
6:40: Another goal. Elias takes a pass at the left point, settles the puck and chops a slapper on net. Clarkson is settled right in front of the net and appears to get a pice of the puck. The rebound rattles around a bit. Before Vokoun can recognize it, Clarkson cleans up the garbage and chops it into the cage. Oprik slams Clarkson with a hit after the fact. Clarkson is a little slow to recover to his skates but he has a three-goal lead. Elias and Zidlicky get assists. Devils 3-0.
6:20: Kunitz get a little space on the left wing but befor ehe can pull the trigger, Fayne makes a nice stick on puck to break up the chance.
5:29: Attendance is announces as 18,658. It is the team's 259 consecutive sellpout. It also breaks the previous record for largest hockey crowd in this facility by one.
4:31: Off a turnover by Zidlicky in his own zone, Boychuk has a chance in the slot. He shuffles a backhander on net. Hedberg holds it out.
2:32: Off a little tap pass by Dupuis from behidn the net, Crosby jabs a little shot on net but the puck hops over the cage.
0:11: The fourth line gets a chance and draws a penalty. Off a strong forecheck by the Penguins, Ginota is called for slashing xxx. Malkin, Martin, Kunitz, Crosby and Neal take the ice.
0:00: End of period. Devils 3, Penguins 0.
-What an ugly period of hockey for the Penguins. Outside of a little burst in the middle portion of the period, they had little in the way of offensive zone puck possession and even less in terms of quality scoring chances.
-The third line has been the Penguins' best line. That's good for them. Bu tnot for the Penguins.
-The first line has been okay. It hasn't really produced much but it hasn't hurt the team wth any sort of errors.
-The second line has been attrocious. Sloppy play and Neal's minor was a killer.
-The power play continues to struggle. It has next to nothing going on. The Devils' penalty killers are a clearly a bigger test than the Capitals' penalty killers.
-This has not been Vokoun's strongest game of the season.
-Greene has been everywhere for the Devils. We say it all the time, but he's so underrated. He's so unassuming but does so many things well.
-David Clarkson is such a pain in the butt to play again. He agitates the heck out of opponents and combine that with a nifty scoring touch.
-The Devils lead the game in shots, 17-15.
-Malkin lead the game with four shots.
-Clarkson leads the Devils with three.
-Martin leads the game with 18:43 of ice time.
-Adam Larsson leads the Devils with 15:13.
-The Penguns lead in faceoffs, 21-13 (62 percent).
-Crosby is 11 fo 12 (92 percent).
-Matteau is 7 for 11 (64 percent).
-Engelland leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Green and Fayne each lead the Devils with two blocked shots.
20:00: The Penguins will have 1:49 of power-play time on fresh ice. Martin, Malkin, Crosby, Neal and Kunitz take the ice.
19:45: And the Penguins take full advantage. Martin controls the puck in his own zone. He allows the play to move up ice and snaps off a pass to Malkin on the right wing wall. Malkin gains the offensive zone, holds at the right point and snap off a pass to Kunitz the slot. Kunitz takes the puck, allwos Volchenkov to slide towards him and moves a pass to Neal down low to the right to the cage. Neal leans down and rips a wrister by Hedberg on the near side. What a pretty play. Kuitz and Malkin get assists. Martin could make a case for a third helper. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 3, Devils 1.
18:07: Dupuis settles puck on the left wall and whips a wrister towards the cage which is blocked.
15:55: Clarkson takes a pass on the right wing and lifts a wrister right int Vokoun. Vokouns eats it up.
13:59: Neal steals a puck behind the Devils' net and deals a pass to the slot. Malkin is there but the timing is off and he overskates the play.
13:19: Henrique fires a shot from the left circle. Vokoun steers it away.
13:12: Green fires a slapper from the left point which hits something in front.
13:08: Greene cranks a one-timer from the left point. It hits something in front and deflects over the cage.
12:31: Fayne golfs a one-timer from the right point. Vokoun shoulders it away.
9:44: Jeffrey swats a loose puck at the left point on net. Hedberg steers that away easily.
9:16: Off an icing call against the Devils, Peter DeBoer calls a timeout to give his team a breather with the faceoff in its own zone.
9:02: Orpik slides a pss from the left point to Malkin the right circle. Malkin drives a one-timer on net. It appears to be juuuust off the mark.
7:15: Sutter is centering Malkin and Neal.
5:01: Off a strong shift by the Malkin-Neal-Boychuk line, Neal tries to jam in a forehand wraparound attempt but hits the post.
4:04: Volchenkov gives a little cross check to Jeffrey in the right wing corner of the offensvie zone. Jeffrey crashes into the boards. No call.
3:16: Off a backhanded feed by Crosby in the left circle, Kunitz has a chance in tight but can't beat a sprawling Hedberg.
2:41: Kovalchuk whips a heavy wrister from the Penguins' blue line. VOkoun punches it away with his blocker.
1:34: Vokoun is pulled for an extra attcker.
1:12: A shot by Orpik from above the left cirlce is blocked by Bernier.
0:09: From the right half wall, Kennedy snaps off a wrister. Hedberg eats it up. The Penguins call a time out because... why not?
0:00: End of game. Devils 3, Penguins 1.