Friday, March 04, 2011

Game #66 - at New Jersey Devils

Game 66
Penguins (37-21-7, 81 points) at Devils (28-31-4, 60 points)

Why does it matter?
This is a key divisional match-up against an opponent that has been playing extremely well since early January.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Nine losses in twelve games won't cut it, but they do have points in three of their past four and have not been playing poorly.
  • Devils - Only one stat matters - 18-2-2 in their past 22 games. Wow.
Questions to be answered
  • Can the Pens slow Kovalchuk down? In his past 16 games, he has just one scoreless game, with 9 goals and 10 assists over that span. Most of those points (and all of the goals) are at even-strength.
  • Can the Pens get to Brodeur?
  • Can James Neal get his first in a Penguins uniform? The team needs him.
Keys to the game
  • Score first and bring the Devils out of that boring trap. If the Devils take the lead, you may as well get a blanket and take a nap.
  • Win at even-strength. Most of the success recently for the Devils has been even-strength hockey since they don't earn or take many penalties.
  • No turnovers in the neutral zone. The Pens have good speed - dump the puck and go get it if you have to - make it a team effort.

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