Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Penguins 2, Devils 0

Great road game by the Pens, and really good effort by Fleury and the defense. No big rebounds, and no second chance shots for the Devils.

As an added bonus, we got to see Coach Sutter's head nearly explode on several occasions.

The Pens are now in prime position to earn the #2 seed for the playoffs. They have a four point lead on the Devils and a five point lead on the Rangers.

Maybe even more important has been the play of Marc-Andre Fleury. He's playing really well right now. The Pens need him to be in top form going into the playoffs.


Lots of empty seats. Way to support your team, New Jersey.

First period:

You can tell right away that Michel Therrien's kind words have had an impact. Everyone is hitting. Ruutu and Laraque look like they'd treat someone like a pinata if they were allowed.

Malone had a breakaway that was denied by Marty. Ryan couldn't get the pillows to open enough to go five hole (boy do I feel weird writing that).

Elias takes a dumb interference on Hossa and then looks even dumber when he acts surprised.

The Pens get several good chances against Brodeur until they finally get one past Brodeur. Ryan Malone scored on a shot from the high slot. 1-0 Penguins.

The Devils have come to play tonight. They use their speed to setup several good chances in the offensive zone. Fortunately for the Pens, none of those chances connect.

The Pens went about 10 minutes without a shot on goal but almost score on a rebound when they finally do.

Talbot gets called for high sticking. The curious thing is that they guy he high sticked was interfering with him. Amazingly there was no interference call. More and more interference is not getting called.

There was some funny business just as the penalty and period expired. I was reminded how much I don't like the Devils, and how things tighten up as the playoffs approach.

Second period:

The second period started with four on four play. Errey spends some time letting us know the Devils are good in this situation. It doesn't matter, as there is no score. The Pens are getting shots on Brodeur, however.

Things slowed down at that point. The game turned into a dump and chase style, as opposed to some of the free skating we saw in the first. The Pens continued blocking shots and keeping the Devils to the outside.

Errey started talking about how there were no second chance shots for the Devils, which I expected to result in an immediate rebound chance for Gionta. It didn't, and we got a commercial.

The Devils had an apparent goal waved off when the ref says Fleury was knocked out of the way by Asham. I'm wondering how this isn't goaltender interference, but at least the goal didn't count. All 1,750 people that bothered to make it out to the Devils nice new arena are noticeably upset.

FSN had great video of Clarkson deliberately butt-ending Hossa. Clarkson was upset that he wasn't fast enough to stay away from Marian. Cheap play by a cheap player.

More skating without much in the way of offense. The Devils are great at mucking things up, and the Pens were more than happy to oblige, as that's they way road games are won.

Malone is called for tripping in what really looked like an even-up call. The Pens have to kill another penalty late in the period.

They killed it successfully with the Devils firing multiple pucks at Fleury. Only one got through. Several were blocked by the Pens.

Whitney played forward tonight. It looked really strange seeing him busting down the right side of the offensive zone. At least he doesn't have to worry about getting trapped in deep.

There were just 13 shots in the second period. The game, to this point, was exciting in a sleepy kind of way.

Third period:

Early on, there wasn't much going on, which is to say the Pens were playing well.

Laraque was called for a trip, putting the Devils back on the power play.

During the power play, we saw something really unusual - the refs blew the whistle for a frozen puck on the sideboards. That almost never happens anymore.

Late in the power play, the Pens couldn't get the puck out. Hal Gill was the last D back and he went down, forcing the dish pass. Gionta got it over to Langenbrunner, who didn't get enough on it. Fleury made a great save.

The Devils made a mental error and were caught for too many men, putting the Pens on the power play.

The Wife stopped in to watch the power play. I'll let her commentary describe it: "That was a waste of a power play". It sure was. I don't think the Pens managed to setup in the zone once in two minutes.

You got the feeling the Pens were about out of gas and hanging on for dear life. The top line, especially, seemed to be out of gas.

The Devils just kept coming and coming. The Pens dug deeper than I've seen them do in some time.

With about five minutes remaining, the lovely (stupid) fans in Jersey started booing the Devils. The Devils, to this point, had played a great period. They were only stymied by better goalie and a tenacious defense. The fans at the arena seemed to have as much class as Clarkson.

The Devils pulled Brodeur, got the puck in deep and called timeout.

Gionta absolutely plowed into Fleury with no call. It didn't matter, because the Pens were going the other way and Hossa notched the empty net goal. Eat it!

Time expired and Fleury had a well deserved shutout.

Next up: The Islanders visit the Igloo on Thursday. No way the Pens can afford another letdown against them.

1 comment:

The Big K said...

What a win.
Solid recap tonight.