New Jersey Devils (4-3-1) at Pittsburgh Penguins (4-3-0)
How many different ways can you say "sole possession of first place"? Because that's exactly where the Pens will be with a win in regulation tonight. They'll also move into the #3 seed in the conference, by virtue of the fact that they'd be leading the division.
Hey, I know it's WAAAYYYY too early to be talking about this stuff, but the Pens weren't in first place for a single day last year. We have to take the highs where we can get them.
A victory is certainly not assured. The Devils just beat the Pens at home not six days ago, and the Pens didn't show anything then that would make me think that this game is a lock. Martin Brodeur allowed 6 goals on just 26 shots the other night against Ottawa, so expect him to be unhappy. In fact, the Devils have lost three of their last four games (their lone victory coming against the Pens), and their power play has been sputtering. Their PK has been struggling too, allowing three goals in the last two games.
The Pens will need to duplicate the effort from last week, but with more precision on offense. Getting tons of shots is good - being able to finish the great chances you get, instead of being just a little bit off on the perfect pass, is what hurt the team last week. I think if they can get one or two goals in the first, that will go a long way towards solving that problem.
Just practice the phrase - "sole possession of first place" - and hope that they can get the job done.
Lets Go Pens!