-The Penguins will partake in another meaningless game tonight. Once again, the biggest thing they can "gain" is not getting anyone injured. They can certainly iron out any details in some areas like the penalty kill and perhaps get Evgeni Malkin a few chances to get back to the levels expected of him. But the biggest thing is not getting injured.
-Speaking of injuries, welcome back Sidney Crosby ... to practice.
-Another thing the Penguins might want to get out of this game is a dominant performance by Marc-Andre Fleury. He wasn't terribly sharp against the Sabres Tuesday. Just seeing him steal a few goals would be encouraging.
-Tyler Kennedy appears to be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch Tuesday. He better play like the fate of the free world is on the line if he hopes to have any chance of playing with a full and healthy lineup in the postseason.
-There are two big reasons the Devils aren't going to the postseason: 1.) Zach Parise 2.) Injuries.
-They lost Parise in the free agent market this past season and never really replaced him with anyone who could even fill a portion of that void. Then they were crippled by injuries to vital players like Martin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuk. A poor effort by Adam Henrique after he broke out last season didn't help either, but the absence of Parise as well as Brodeur and Kovalchuk hurt this team badly.
-An EN reader is on hand in Newark and sends a dreadful jersey foul:
-A much better jersey foul:
-It looks like the Penguins will be switching up their lines based on warmups:
Jarome Iginla - Evgeni Malkin - Beau Bennett
Chris Kunitz - Jussi Jokinen - Pascal Dupuis
Brenden Morrow - Brandon Sutter - Matt Cooke
Tanner Glass - Craig Adams - Tyler Kennedy
Mark Eaton - Kris Letang
Douglas Murray - Matt Niskanen
Simon Despres - Deryk Engelland
-There aren't too many people who can look like a scary person with an apple, but Mark Eaton pulls it off:
-The Penguins' starters are Craig Adams, Tanner Glass, Tyler Kennedy, Douglas Murray, Matt Niskanen and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Robert Bortuzzo, Sidney Crosby, Eric Hartzell, Dustin Jeffrey, Steve MacIntyre, James Neal, Brooks Orpik and the great Joe Vitale.
-The Devils' starters are Adam Henrique, Ilya Kovalchuk, Andrei Loktionov, Eric Gelinas, Peter Harrold and Johan Hedberg.
-Their scratches are Krys Barch, Steve Bernier, Matt D'Agostini, Mark Fayne, Harri Pesonen, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Bryce Salvador, Mike Sislo, Henrik Tallinder and Alexander Urbom.
19:07: Travis Zajac snaps off a wirster from the Penguins' blue line. Fleury scoops it up. During the stoppage, Glass and David Clarkson mix it up in front of the Penguins' bench but nothing comes of it.
18:18: Off a drop pass from Kunitz, Malkin sweeps a one-timer from the right circle. Puck magnet Anton Volchenkov flops down to block it.
18:03: Adam Larsson flings a wrister from the right point. Fleury eats it up.
17:28: Andy Greene is in deep on the right wing and backhands a pass to the left circle. Jacob Josefson is there for the pass but Malkin hustles on a backcheck and steals the puck.
17:05: Gelinas fires his first career NHL shot from the left point. Fleury fights it off.
16:12: Volchenkov takes a pass at the left point and pounds a heavy slapper on net. Fleury eats it up.
15:52: Patrik Elias plays a pass from the left win to the crease. As Travis Zajac crashes in, the puck hops up to the right of the cage.
12:57: Iginla steals a puck from Clarkson on the right wing of the Devils' zone. He deals to Malkin in the right circle. Malkin directs it to Kennedy in the left circle. Kennedy chops a one-timer which is well off the mark.
12:08: Off a feed from Niskanen, Murray booms a heavy one-timer from the center point. Hedberg eats it up.
11:08: The Penguins' third line opens the scoring. Sutter pushes the puck up the left wing. He gets a step on Gelinas and flings a backhanded pass to the slot. Morrow and Harrodl battle for the puck it comes lose behgind them right in front of the blue point. Cooke jumps on it and backhand chops it on net. Hedberg falls backwards hoping to smother the puck but he allows it to slide into the net. Cooke gets the goal. Morrow and Sutter get the assists. Penguins 1-0.
10:50: The third line is still at it. Morrow battles Volchenkov for a puck in the left wing corner of the New Jersey zone. he taps it to Cooke along the end boards. Cooke spins and whips a feed to Sutter driving in on net from the right circle. Sutter whacks it on net. Hedberg fights it off.
10:10: Clarkson knocks Iginla off a puck on the left wing wall of the Penguins zone. Clarkson takes the puck and lifts a wrister on net. Fleury eats it up.
9:35: A loose puck slides to Niskanen at the right point. He whacks it on net. Hedberg bodies it away.
6:48: Loktionov and Kovalchuk whacks wild slappers from the left and right wings respectively which are well off the mark.
4:49: Letang is in deep on the right wing and flings a wrister at the crease. It hits off Hedberg's stick and deflects to the opposite wall.
4:02: Off some tic-tac-toe passing, Clarkson has a chance right in front. Fleury reads the play all the way and kicks out Clarkson's shot.
3:13: Niskanen has a slapper from the right point blocked by Loktionov.
2:14: Harrold lifts a wrister from the righ tpoint. FLeury fights it off with his left shoulder.
1:23: Elias challenges Engelland one-on-one down the Penguins' slot. Elias attempts a spin-o-rama but is forced into losing the puck.
1:16: Volchenkov chosp a half slapper from the left poitn wide to the far side.
0:52: Volchenkov gains the offensive zone on the left wing and pounds a slapper high. FLeury fights it off.
0:30: Sutter chips a shot from the slot on net. Hedberg kicks it away.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Devils 0.
-Considering how little is on the line in this game, that wasn't a terrible period of hockey. There wa a fairly fervent pace of play and several quality scoring chances for each team.
-Fleury was pretty strong. He stole at least one goal and looked prety confident overall.
-If the Penguins plan on using Morrow-Sutter-Cooke as a third line in the postseason (assuming everyone is healthy), they appeared to be developing some serious chemistry. They were really aggressive that period.
-It would be a stretch to say Evgeni Malkin looked all that dominant.
-Murray and Niskanen looked pretty strong as a duo. Both of them, especially Niskanen, were aggressive with their shots.
-The Penguins have a 12-6 lead in shots.
-Harrold leads the game with three shots.
-Sutter leads the Penguins with two.
-Marek Zidlicky leads the game with 8:01 of ice time.
-Murray leads the Penguins with 7:33.
-The Penguins have a 7-4 advantage in faceoffs (64 percent).
-Sutter and Malkin are each 2 for 2 (100 percent).
-Zajac is 2 for 4 (50 percent).
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
19:31: Taking a pass from Harrold, Gelinas lifts a wrister from the left point. Fleury reaches out to grab it but the puck hits Loktionov in the helmet. Play is blown dead. Loktionov is fine.
19:15: Clarkson whips a wrister on net. Fleury gloves it.
18:26: Malkin forces Elias to lose the puck at the right point, steals it off him in the neutral zone and gains the offensive zone on the left wing. He spins off a check from Volchenkov at the left point and feed a pass to Iginla driving down the slot. Iginla taps it on net but doesn't really get a clean shot off. Hedberg steers it away.
17:23: Sullivan lifts a wrister from the left half wall on net. Fleury eats it up.
16:21: Play is halted as Hedberg is nabbed for playing the puck in the "no-play" zone for goaltenders. It was juuuust inside the line and Hedberg made contact. That's two minutes for dleay of game. Gelinas will serve the minor. Iginla, Kunitz, Letang, Malkin and Jokinen take the ice.
16:08: Things get evened up rather quickly as Iginla is called for hooking Elias in the neutral zone. Elias drew that penalty with pure hustle. We'll have four on four for 1:47.
15:42: Malkin floats into the offensive zone. He challenges Greene one-on-one down the slot. As Greene goes stick on puck, Malkin goes forehand to backhand and whips a backhander wide to the far side.
15:23: Kovalchuk hustles up the right wing, gets a step on Letang and snaps of fa wrister from a bad angle. Fleury hugs the near post and eats it up.
14:21: The Hedberg minor is killed. The Devils will have 13 seconds of power-play time.
14:08: Iginla returns to play.
12:15: Carter and Larsson each get chances in tight but Fleury holds them out.
11:14: Henrique tries to deal a pass from the left circle to Loktionov in the right circle. Sutter hustles on a backcheck and knocks the puck away.
10:53: Dupuis knocks the puck away from Gelinas at the left point of the Penguins' zone and pokes it up ice. He races it up into the offensive zone and has the makings of a pseudo-breakaway but Harrold knocks it away.
10:02: Sutter whacks a slapper from the right wing wide to the far side. Cooke settles the rebound on the left wing and flings a wrister on net. Hedberg fights it off. Morrow and Sutter crash in for the rebound. Cooke sneaks in behind them, collects the puck and puts a backhander on net. Hedberg kicks it out with his left leg.
9:47: Letang pushes the puck up the right wing with an acre of ice to work with. He draws in a defender and chips a puck to the slot where Malkin is driving on net. Malkin leans down hoping for a re-direction but the timing is off just enough that the puck doesn't connect.
8:38: Kennedy snaps off a wrister from the slot which Greene blocks.
8:22: A one-timer by Niskanen from center point is blocked.
7:44: Broadcaster Paul Steigerwald references a fight between Murray and former Devils enforcer Eric Boulton:
6:46: Malkin pushes the puck up the right wing and is tripped up by Elias. Despite falling ot his knees, Malkin is able to sweep a cross ice pass to Bennett on the left wing. Bennett fends off Larsson and puts a backhander on net. Hedberg holds it out and covers the rebound as Iginla hovers. Elias is called for tripping. Malkin, Letang, Jokinen, Kunitz and Iginla take the ice.
6:23: Kunitz and Jokinen win a puck battle on the left wing wall against Volchenkov. Jokinen is able to slide pass to Malkin all alone in front of the crease. Malkin hesitates, palys the puck a little too much and loses it on a poke check by Hedberg. Argh. He has to shootout. MVPs score in that situation.
5:59: Apparently Finnish journeymen can score in that situation. Fleury settles a puck dumped into the Penguins' zone by the Devils. Letang takes the puck, pushes it up slowy from his own zone and snaps off a breakout pass to Jokinen on the left wing. Jokinen gets a step on Larsson, settles the puck and lifts a wrister from the left circle whish toasts Hedberg over his left shoulder, clinks off the cross bar and hits twine. What a shot. What a pass. Letang and Fleury get assists. It's Fleury first point of the season. Penguins 2-0.
5:28: Josefson lifts a wrister from the slot on net. Fleury eats it up.
4:07: Cooke lugs he puck up the right wing, pulls up at the left half wall and deals to Morrow in the slot. Morrow forwards the pass on the left wing. Sutter jabs a forehand shot on net. Hedberg eats it up. A replays show Letang having some issues getting onto the bench:
1:45: Clarkson has a wrister from the right wing blocked by Murray.
1:27: The Devils break through. Elias controls the puck at the left point and snaps off a wrister to Zajac in the left circle. Zajac is able to spin around and lifts a wrister over the right shoulder of Fleury and into the cage. Fleury appeared screened by Clarkson who was battling Murray. A great pass by Elias created that. Elias and Volchenkov get assists. Penguins 2-1.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Devils 1.
-More of the same that period. There was a solid pace of play and plenty of quality scoring chances for both teams.
-Even with his hesitation on the one power-play scoring chance, Malkin looked a lot better that period. He created quite a few scoring chances.
-The third line continues to look aggressive.
-The Devils have a 19-11 lead in shots.
-Sutter, Harrold and Zajac each lead the game with three shots.
-Letang leads the game with 15:51 of ice time.
-Zidlicky leads the Devils with 14:25.
-The Penguins have a 16-15 edge in faceoffs.
-Sutter is 5 for 6 (83 pecent).
-Zajac is 8 for 12 (67 percent).
-Greene and Harrold each lead the game with two blocked shots.
19:10: Eaton appears to get away with a slash on Kovalchuk.
18:21: Bennett chops a slapper from the left point. Hedberg kicks it out.
17:31: The Devils get a chance to tie the game as Dupuis is called for tripping former Penguin Tom Kostopoulos. Letang, Murray, Adams and Sutter take the ice.
17:13: Zidlicky snaps off wrister from the right circle which Fleury boots out.
16:59: Tie game. Elias controls the puck down low along the end boards on the left wing. He delas a pass to Clarkson in the left circle. Clarkson snaps off an immediate wrister which sneaks under Fleury's legs. Not a great goal for Fleury to allow. Elias and Kovalchuk get assists. Devils 2, Penguins 2.
16:26: Another power play for the Devils as Morrow is called for unsportsmanlike conduct. A scrum developed and he sort of gave a backhanded forearm to Carter's chest. It's kind of a ticky tack penalty. Dupuis, Murray, Sutter and Eaton take the ice.
15:21: On a short-handed forecheck, Adams steals a puck off Josefsen in the right wing corner of the New Jersey zone and deals a backhanded pass to Kunitz hovering near the crease. Kunitz jabs a shot wide of the cage.
14:26: The Morrow minor is killed. Not much going on there for the Devils.
13:55: Carter lugs the puck up the left wing and plays it to the crease where a cluster of bodies has amassed. Bennett is able to clear it down ice.
13:07: Elias lifts a backhander from the left circle on net which Fleury turns away.
12:51: Volchenkov slides a pass from the right point to Zidlicky on the left half wall. xxx chops a one-timer on net. Fleury fights it off but allows a rebound. Clarkson is right in front. He collects the rebound, spins and deals a pass to Zajac on the right circle. As Fleury scrambles to his left, Zajac rips a shot off the near post. Huge break for the Penguins.
11:47: Larsson lifts a rising slapper from the right point. Fleury eats it up.
11:19: Zidlicky wires a slapper from the right point on net. Fleury snags it with a glove hand.
10:34: Larsson flings a wrister on net from the right half wall. Fleury knocks it dead and covers despite a screen by Gionta.
9:50: On a line with Glass and Adams, Malkin controls the puck in the left wing corner. He appears to get tripped up by Larsson. He also appeared to embellish it a bit. No penalty.
9:03: Gelinas pounds a slapper from the left point wide on the near side.
8:57: Loktionov snaps off a wrister from above the left circle which Cooke blocks.
8:30: Bennett deals a pass from the left corner to Malkin in the left circle. Malkin uncorks a wicked one-timer which Hedberg snags with a big glove save. Devils fans shower him with "MOOOOOOSSSSEEEE....." chants.
6:45: Murray thumps Clarkson to the ice in the neutral zone.
6:10: The Devils take the lead. Sullivan races up the left wing with the puck and deals a backhanded pass which sneaks through the slot to Kovalchuk in the right circle. Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk whips the puck back to the slot where Lotkionov is driving in on net. The puck appears to hit off Sutter's stick and deflects into the net by Fleury's blocker-side. Heck of a pass by Sullivan. The Penguins were far too loose in that sequence. Sullivan and Greene get assists. Fire Ray Shero. Devils 3-2.
4:48: Kunitz deals a pass to the slot for Dupuis. Dupuis whacks at the puck but a stick on puck by Greene denies him a clean shot.
4:45: Carter is called for closing his hand on the puck. The Penguins get a power play. Letang, Malkin, Iginla, Kunitz and Jokinen take the ice.
3:13: Off a feed from Malkin, Letang drives a one-timer from above the right circle on net. Hedberg boots it out.
3:08: The rebound skips out to the neutral zone. Gionta races after it, collects it and enters the offensive zone. He pumps a slapper on net from above the left circle which Fleury kicks out.
2:45: The Carter minor is killed. The Penguins offered little threat there.
1:53: Sutter lifts a wrister from above the right circle. Hedberg eats it up.
1:28: Henrique spins and whips a wrister on net from the slot. Fleury fight it off depite having Dainius Zubrus crash in.
1:08: Clarkson snaps off a sneaky wrister from the right circle. Fleury fends it off.
0:44: Zajac lifts a wrister from above the right circle. Fleury eats it up.
0:35: Fleury is puleld for an extra attacker.
0:04: Morrow flings a wrister from the left cirlce on net. Hedberg fights it off.
0:00: End of period. Devils 3, Penguins 2.
-As we said in our pregame notes, the biggest thing the Penguins could get out of this game was avoiding injuries. They accomplished that.
-We kind of view this game as a preseason game. There's not a lot to gain or lose from a team perspective so you're kind of left evaluating individual efforts.
-If there's one reason for some concern, it's another less than stellar effort by Marc-Andre Fleury. He allowed one soft goal to David Clarkson which tied the game. We're not concerned about Fleury given his less than sharp efforts in back-to-back meaninless game. But we think it would be nice to see him look sharp heading into the postseason.
-Evgeni Malkin had moments of dominant play tonight, particiularly in the second period but he still seems like he's a step or two behind his dominant MVP level from last season. Something is just off a bit.
-We liked the third line of Brenden Morrow, Brandon Sutter and Matt Cooke most of the night. Up until the third goal by the Devils, they were by far the Penguins' best line most of the game. They have developed some strong chemistry in a short amount of time.
-Kris Letang looked really strong. He was all over the ice. He needs to be at his best for the Penguins to make a serious run.
-Tyler Kennedy gave an honest effort but we just didn't see much from him tonight in terms of results. He faces an uphill battle to stay in the lineup.
-We're not sure where he belongs, but the Penguins need to find a way to keep Jussi Jokinen in the lineup when and if everyone is healthy. He has such a dynamic touch with the puck. It stands out, even on this team full of all-stars.
-Clarkson had another strong game against the Penguins. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. If he's smart, he'll find a way to stay in the same division as the Penguins.
-Johan Hedberg was really sharp in the third period. He made some key saves as the game wore on to give his team a chance to make the comeback.
-Again, only put so much weight into any evaluations into this game. This was not a fair measure of either team considering that neither squad had anything at stake.
-The Devils led in shots, 32-18.
-Travis Zajac led the game with five shots.
-Sutter led the Penguins with four.
-Letang led the game with 26:07 of ice time.
-Zidlicky led the Devils with 22:57.
-The Penguins had a 25-24 edge in faceoffs (51 percent).
-Zajac was 12 for 19 (63 percent).
-Sutter was 6 for 11 (55 percent).
-Mark Eaton, Andy Greene and Peter Harrold each led the game with two blocked shots.
-Fleury recorded his 11 career assists. He still trails Tom Barrasso (31) by quite a few for the franchise's all-tme lead for points by a goaltender.
-Cooke surpassed Dave Hannan for 48th place on the franchise's all-time scoring list. Both players ahve 148 points but Cooke (66) has more goals than Hannan (60).