Saturday, October 11, 2008

Devils 2, Penguins 1 (OT)

A disappointing home opener for the Pens, as they came out strong for about 10 minutes and tried to hang on for the last 50, unsuccessfully. At least they earned a point.



Nice introduction of each player. Sykora is still out - he's supposed to return on Tuesday.

First period:

The Pens generated a ton of offense early. They had several decent chances, but no dice against Marty.

The puck possession game was working really well early on too. Several really nice rushes and crisp, quick outlet passes.

We heard how Letang worked on his speed by running all winter, and now Brooks Orpik (the reigning fastest skater on the Pens) can't catch him. Somehow this reminds me of the "he's in the best shape of his life" discussions.

Sydor was playing tonight on the wing on the fourth line, joining a fine tradition started by Orpik and Whitney last year.

First power play was given to the Pens. They looked much better than in Sweden. So much better, in fact, that it took just 24 seconds for SATAN to claim the lost little puck and shepherd it to it's final destination. 1-0 Pens.

The Devils immediately swarmed the Pens after the power play with some desperate play. Unfortunately for them, they also committed an offensive zone penalty, sending the Pens back on the power play.

This power play didn't look nearly as nice. They had maybe one decent chance, but no dice.

And then, before you knew it, the first period was almost over. The only things of consequence were a Zubrus hit on Cooke and Elias taking a roughing penalty after the end of the period.

Second period (Pens lead 1-0):

The Pens started the period on the power play. Goligoski showed some nice presence handling the puck. The Devils were trying to gang up on him and he didn't panic or get rid of the puck. He just showed some patience and bought some time.

Sid decided they'd had enough time on the power play, so he took an interference penalty to even things up.

The Devils had a backside power play for a little over a minute. They didn't do much with it, and the score stood at 1-0 as we got into the meat of the second period.

Gill and Clarkson broke up the tedium of the second period with... a pretty boring fight. Even a boring fight is better than watching the Devils play their system.

The Pens started having some problems clearing the puck out of their zone. Letang failed on a clear, which wound up in a nice shot by Parise. Nicer save by Fleury.

Dupuis took a tripping penalty, sending the Devils onto the power play. The power play felt like the culmination of the heat the Devils have been generating for the last 5-8 minutes of the second period, and they couldn't beat Fleury. Good sign for the Pens.

There was some nice pressure by the Pens. Crosby's line in particular showed some nice skills in the offensive zone. Brodeur was up to the challenge, but it was nice to see what Fedo and especially Satan can do.

Crosby finally drew his first penalty of the season, putting the Pens back on the power play. They couldn't convert.

The Devils had some nice chances before the second period ended. They couldn't cash in, but the Pens would have some work ahead if they want to win the game. They can't keep letting the Devils plaster Fleury with good chances.

Third period (Pens lead 1-0):

Dan Potash interviewed Sid's grandmothers before the period. You were just waiting for one of them to pinch his cheeks and say something like "What a nice boy you are!"

Mike Yeo lets us know that the coaching staff is pretty unhappy with the Pens' performance so far, saying that they're being too cute and not being aggressive enough.

Early on, Staal and Kennedy worked a nice give-and-go, but Jordan couldn't get enough on the shot to do anything with it.

Malkin only has one shot to his name to this point in the game. That's not enough. He needs to get more on the net.

Malkin tried to get the puck to Scuderi out high in the offensive zone, but didn't do a good job of it. Rolston jumped in and took the puck the other way. Not only did he get a good scoring chance, but he drew a penalty. Power play for the Devils, and it was a 4-on-3 for the first minute because of prior matching minors.

The Devils had a bit of heat on the power play, but the Pens also were aggressive on the puck, and they killed off the man-advantage.

Orpik had his stick taken away (literally) by Parise with no call. He then was knocked down by Lagenbrunner. As he was falling, he grabbed the stick of Jamie and pulled him down to. Penalty to Orpik. Nice job on missing the first one, Clueless Zebras.

The Devils nearly scored on the power play when a puck glanced off of Fleury and ran parallel to the goal line. The defense then cleaned up the mess by knocking the stuffing out of any Devils near the crease.

Some nice pressure by Malkin, Staal and Kennedy. Malkin had a nice shot and Staal just missed a chip-in chance.

Crosby gave the puck away to Mighty Mouse. Fleury would have none of that, with a nice save on the slapper by Gionta. Crosby got back and broke up a centering pass with a diving effort. Good recovery by Sid.

The third period was starting to wane (but not fast enough), and the Pens just couldn't get the puck out of their own end for any extended period of time.

A bad turnover by Malkin out high in the offensive zone led to a great scoring chance for the Devils. Fortunately it didn't turn into anything.

The Devils would cash in, however, when the puck took a bad bounce off of the right skate of Hal Gill. The Devils actually deserved it, having dominated the Pens for the entire second and third period. The crappy part was that it came with less than three minutes left in the game. 1-1 tie.

Satan hit Malkin cutting towards Brodeur with less than a minute to go, but the puck jumped over the stick of Geno. That was the third period in a microcosm for the Pens.

The game went to overtime.


You had to hope that playing 4-on-4 would shake things up for the Pens and change their luck.

Michael Therrien sensed something and called timeout just 40 seconds into OT.

Pittsburgh fans show that they understand sarcasm when they gave Fedo the big round of applause after a shot on net.

The Pens had a 3-on-2 and didn't shoot the puck. Letang tried to make an extra pass, and it was broken up. It led directly to a Murphy dump, taken by Parise and FIRED to the far top corner over Fleury. It was an amazing shot, but one that should have never happened.

Only one relevant stat to mention in review - shots:

Devils - 48
Pittsburgh - 15

Just plain bad.

Next up: Those lovely folks from Philadelphia visit the Igloo on Tuesday.

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