Friday, February 16, 2007

Game #57 - at New Jersey Devils

Pittsburgh Penguins (30-17-9, 69 pts) at New Jersey Devils (35-16-6, 76 pts)

Prior meetings:
Devils 3, Penguins 0 on December 26th in New Jersey
Devils 5, Penguins 2 on December 1st in New Jersey
Penguins 4, Devils 2 on October 25th in Pittsburgh
Devils 2, Penguins 1 on October 18th in Pittsburgh

Tonight is a tough assignment. Brodeur is the bane of the Penguins existence recently. John Madden and Colin White are both expected to play after missing Wednesday night against Montreal.

The only positive, player-wise, is that Mighty Mouse (Brian Gionta) might miss the game with a groin strain. That's big for the Pens, as the little guy has roasted them since the end of the lockout.

For the Pens to have a chance, they MUST take advantage of their chances on the power play, and they likely won't get many of them. The Devils do take more penalties at home than they do on the road, but they average less than 4 power plays allowed per game. Their PK is very good at home (86%) when they do take a penalty. Ugh.

Another critical element is to kill penalties effectively. The Devils are only +2 at home. They've scored 30 power play goals while only allowing 15 against. That's why they've been so successful at home.

The Pens have been struggling a bit lately. Since the Nashville game (which I think was their last great effort), they've had to go to OT or the shoot out to beat Philadelphia and Chicago. I know they're both playing better, but they're still not playoff teams. The ship needs to be righted for the Pens to have a chance tonight.

Devils blog - Check out In Lou We Trust. Good blog.

I'm looking for a high energy effort. The Pens will have to use their speed to break up the snooze fest inducing trap the Devils employ. Speed will also go a long way towards putting the Pens on the power play. Crosby scores (finally) and the Pens win.

Let's Go Pens!

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